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Jewish Farming and Marriage Prospects

I am twenty-seven years of age, have been in the country ten years, and am still single. I have worked here at various trades, but never very long at one job. I enjoy traveling and seeing what’s going on in the country. Now I’ve decided it’s time to marry and settle down.

I came to North Dakota, where most people make their living from farming. But there are no Jews in this area. I started to work on a farm and I learned farming. I like this kind of life, and after working a year and a half I rented a farm for myself.

My capital was small, but Gentile neighbors helped me. I went into debt for thirteen hundred dollars, but by the end of the summer I had paid back almost all of my debts. I wrote to a friend of mine about joining me. He and his wife came and we work together. We carry on an independent life, have none of the problems of city life because we always have our own potatoes, butter, cheese, milk, chickens, a good home and are content.

This winter I went to Chicago and stayed a few weeks with friends. Most of my friends called me an idiot and told me they could not understand how a young, capable fellow like me became a farmer and leads such a lonely life.

Of all the girls I knew, who would have gladly married me before, not one was interested in going back to the farm with me. But this didn’t discourage me. I returned to the farm and I’m now preparing for the spring season.

However, I want to ask you, did my friends have the right to call me "idiot"? Is there any logic in their argument? Please answer me.


There is certainly nothing to be ashamed of in living in the lap of Nature. Many people dream of becoming farmers. The cities are full of many diseases that are unheard of on farms. Tuberculosis, for instance, is a disease of the big cities. People in urban areas grow old and gray at forty, but most of the farmers are healthy and strong and live to be eighty and ninety.

Daily Forward, 1909, as quoted in A Bintel Brief: Letters to the Jewish Daily Forward by Isaac Metzker, translated by Isaac Metzker, copyright 1971 by Isaac Metzker. Foreword and notes copyright 1971 by Doubleday, a division of Bantam, Doubleday, Dell Publishing Group, Inc. p. 92-93
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Date / time
March 23, 1905
Metzker, Isaac
Metzker, Isaac
A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward
Date published
March 23, 1905

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Farming and Marriage Prospects." (Viewed on March 27, 2015) <>.


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