Jews have been part of North Dakota's social, economic, agricultural and political life since territorial days. Between the 1880's and the 1920's, aided by the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Society, primarily Russian and Romanian Jews came to North Dakota escaping persecution and pogroms (anti-Jewish riots) in Europe. They established themselves in over 50 agricultural settlements on 1200 farms.
North Dakota had the fourth largest number of Jewish homesteaders in the Nation.
Jewish agricultural settlements were established at Painted Woods, Devil's Lake, Garske, Wing-Regan, Flasher and in Bowman County. The most enduring settlement was in the Ashley area. The railroad facilitated additional Jewish immigration to the urban areas of North Dakota.
Jews established themelves in Grand Forks, Bismark, Minot and Fargo significantly contributing to the economic development of the cities. The first permanent Jewish house of worship was dedicated in Grand Forks, 1892. Rabbi Benjamin Papermaster was the first Rabbi, serving from 1891-1934.