South Dakota Is Home to the Fewest Jews in America
Sundown tonight (October 1) marks the end of the Jewish new year, better known as Rosh Hashanah, which literally translates to 'head of the year'.
But in South Dakota, there aren't many observing the sacred holiday because the Mount Rushmore State has the fewest number of Jews in America.
According to Haaretz.com, South Dakota's Jewish population is slightly less than 400 people, which is less than one-tenth of one percent of the number of total residents in the state.
South Dakota's first Jewish residents came to the state during the gold rush of the mid-1800s and settled in the Deadwood area. Eventually, the number of Jews in South Dakota grew to more than 1,300 nearly 100 years ago.
But since 1920, that number has been on the decline, leaving the state with just two active synagogues, Mt. Zion in Sioux Falls and The Synagogue of the Hills in Rapid City. A third facility, B'nai Isaac in Aberdeen, occasionally hosts services and Torah study groups.
Not only is South Dakota home to the fewest Jews in the United States, but it is also the only state in America without a permanent rabbi. Instead, a group of Hasidic rabbinical students known as the 'Roving Rabbis' visit South Dakota at various times during the year, making in-home visits.
Of the more than seven million Jews that live in America, nearly nine percent of them (1.7 million) live in the State of New York.