Jewish History Collaborative
Earliest Settlers and Communities
First recorded Jewish resident: In 1693, William Abrams and Aaron Moses moved from New Castle to Sanbornton. In 1770, Joseph Levy settled near what is now known as Ossipee.
1784: New Hampshire’s first state Constitution limited office-holding to Protestants.
1849: The Hebrew Society of Somerworth was founded.
1874: The United State Hay Fever Association was founded in Bethlehem, New Hampshire; Jewish asthma and allergy sufferers came to the White Mountains for relief.
1877: The New Hampshire state Constitution was amended to remove religious qualifications.
Major Immigrant-era Settlements: Earliest Known Settlement Dates
The early Jewish settlers (particularly from the influx escaping the problems of eastern Europe) came as small merchants and trades people. Few, if any, worked in Manchester's huge Amoskeag textile mills. The first peddlers became merchants, and the downtown areas of Manchester, Nashua, Dover, Portsmouth. Keene, and Claremont soon had numbers of Jewish entrepreneurs. The early settlers’ children, first generation Americans, became lawyers, physicians, dentists, and teachers.
Berlin: In 1915, Beth Israel congregation was founded.
Bethlehem: In 1916, Isidor Lusher bought the Alamont Hotel and in 1920, the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation was founded.
Concord: On September 19, 1907, 11 Jewish men met at 16 Water Street in Concord. They called themselves the “Base of Jacob”. Initially they met in individual homes. In February of 1917, ten years after that day in September, Base of Jacob became Temple Beth Jacob.
Derry: In 1902, Louis and Bella Lewis became the first permanent Jewish family to settle in the town.
Keene: In 1887, a group of about ten Jewish peddlers began holding services every Saturday morning in a clothing store at the head of Central Square. In 1895 Hayman H. Cohen opened a clothing store in
Peterborough, thereby becoming the first Jewish resident in the town.
Manchester: In 1862, a minyan had gathered in Manchester to observe the holidays, but there was no further report until 1880, when J. Wolf is listed as the first recorded permanent Jewish resident. In 1891, the Manchester community records listed 21 adult working Jewish men, nine of them heads of families. In 1892, Manchester has their first rabbi, Peter Axel, and the first Jewish wedding was conducted on March 19, 1893 (Rebecca Pines and Samuel Rosenblum).
Nashua: In 1895, 15 families originally from Boston moved to Nashua and got together in an effort to "keep a Jewish way of life alive."
Portsmouth: In the late 1880s, approximately 16 families were living in Portsmouth. In order to conduct religious services, the men would meet at various private homes. In 1910, Temple Israel was founded.
Somerworth: On July 3,1849, the Hebrew Society of Somerworth was founded, the first in New Hampshire, and on July 12, 1856, the first Jewish cemetery was established.
Major Current Jewish Population Centers
In 2017, the current Jewish population of New Hampshire was estimated to be 10,120 Jews.
Principal Statewide Jewish Organizations
Jewish Federation of New Hampshire
Schools and Universities
• Dartmouth College Hillel
• University of New Hampshire Hillel
• Chabad at Dartmouth College
• UNH & Seacoast Chabad Jewish Center
• Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College
Local Jewish Historical Societies and Resource Centers
The Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth includes the Shapiro House (1919)
The Millyard Museum, Manchester
New Hampshire Historical Society
New Hampshire State Library
Jewish Cemeteries and Burial Information
Joshua Segal’s The Jewish Cemeteries of New Hampshire (2010) provides a comprehensive guide to Jewish cemeteries in New Hampshire.
David G. Stahl, Becoming American: Manchester’s Jewish Community, Vol. 50, No. 3-4 (Fall-Winter 1995) Historical New Hampshire.
Jewish Virtual Library: New Hampshire, United States
Famous Jewish People from Connecticut
Business and Finance
Howard Brodsky – CCA Global Partners, named Business Leader of the Decade by Business New Hampshire magazine
Revson Brothers – Founders of Revlon Cosmetics
Education and Research
James Freedman – President of Dartmouth College
Kenneth Fuld – Professor of Psychology and Dean of College of Liberal Arts at University of New Hampshire
Hans Heilbronner – Professor of History at University of New Hampshire
Adam Sandler – actor/comedian
Ralph Baer – Pioneer inventor of video games
Sarah Silverman – comedian
Dr. Sam Katz – One of developers of measles vaccine with Dr. Enders. Chairman of Pediatrics at Duke.
Dr. Sydney Gellis – Chief of Pediatrics at Tufts/Boston Floating Hospital Pediatrics.
Dr. Selma Deitch – Pediatrician and Public Health Doctor – who, with benefactor May Gruber of Pandora Mills, started Child Health Services in Manchester, to serve underprivileged children.
Public Affairs / Politics
Philip Hollman – Superior Court justice.
Warren Rudman – United States Senator.
Susan Silberberg – City planner and expert on the Manchester Millyard.
Singer Family – incredible record of service and contributions to their community.
Sam Fuld – Stanford graduate and major league baseball player.