Two weeks ago we remembered the founding of Grace Church in Amherst, just over 150 years ago. Now, in the Jewish High Holy Days, we can remember the story of the founding of the Jewish Community of Amherst. The Amherst History Society is fortunate to have a video of the talk given by Irv and Linda Seidman, who wrote a book about the travails of the Jews in Amherst from 1938 when, according to census records, seven “Hebrews” were living in the town, through ‘the formative years’ in the 1950’s and 60’s, and how they came to purchase the old Second Congregational Church building in East Amherst in 1976.
We also have a video of talk by Dr Michael Hoberman of Fitchburg State University about the interactions between Jews and Christians in colonial New England. Although the religious Puritans were learned in Hebrew and the Old Testament, they had few interactions with actual Jews, leading to some comic misunderstandings, as well as close friendships.
Amherst Historical Society and Museum
The mission of the Amherst Historical Society is to connect people to the town of Amherst, its history, and its culture.
The Society was founded in 1899 by Mabel Loomis Todd, and in 1916 it moved into the historic Simeon Strong house. Over the years, the Society has collected a wide variety of resources for learning about the town of Amherst. We have artifacts dating back to the earliest days of the town, and papers and photographs from more recent years. On our website you may find links to walking tours of Amherst, a list of books about Amherst, and even a collection of historic postcards.
We host a biweekly lecture series, ‘History Bites,’ as well as evening performances and historic tours. Our eighteenth-century garden is maintained by the Garden Club of Amherst, and last year we hosted a Thursday evening farmers’ and artisans’ market on our front lawn.