Understanding Jewish Divorce In 1884
How did a small fur trading post deep in the American Midwest that had recently grown into a small but thriving town understand Jews and Orthodox Judaism? With hostility? Curiosity? A mixture of both? And what does this question have to do with Jewish divorce?
How did Americans in a small Midwestern town in late 19th century understand Jews and Orthodox Judaism? With hostility? Curiosity? A mixture of both?
Grand Forks, North Dakota was officially incorporated in February 1881. It's population in 1880 was 1,701. (It would grow to 4, 979 by 1890.)
By 1891 the tiny Jewish community of Grand Forks would have its own rabbi and would, for the first time, organize a synagogue. A year later it also had a heder teacher who doubled as the shamas of the synagogue and the ba'al shacharit on Jewish holidays.
Three years after its incorporation, the little Midwestern town already had two newspapers. One of those papers, the Grand Forks Herald, printed human interest stories about Jews and Judaism.
Here is one of those stories from its March 27, 1884 edition:
Related Post: Rabbi Acquitted On Mikva Assault Charge.