Joseph Nudelman, Jewish Farm Community Leader of North Dakota


Joseph Nudelman, #WS7345

Joseph Nudelman, #WS7345

Joseph Nudelman

Values Codes  I-H-E-L


Joseph Nudelman was born in 1844 in a small village outside of Odessa, Russia.

Joseph Nudelman was edcucated in Jewish schools to read and understand Jewish texts.

Joseph Nudelman spoke Yiddish and Russian.

In his 20s, Joseph Nudelman was apprenticed as a carpenter.

In the early 1870’s due to pogroms in Russia, Joseph Nudelman moved to Romania where he was a wine and grain merchant.

In the 1880’s Joseph Nudelman became involved in the am olam movement that wanted to create Jewish farm settlements in North Central United States and Canada.

Joseph Nudelman gathered together 25 families, in 1881 that, financed by Baron de Hirsh, left for America.

Joseph Nudelman was forced to remain behind because of his wife’s illnesss.

In 1882 he left for America with his family and additional Jewish settlers.


Along the Way . . .

The settlers first gathered in Denver. There some worked laying tracks for the railroad while others mined silver in the famous Leadville mines.

In 1883, Nudelman gathered most of the families and moved out on to the great prairie to a place known that he called “New Jerusalem,” north of Bismark, North Dakota.

A Rabbi Judah Weschler helped the colony with their settlement.

“Excitable, jabbering, queerly dressed . . . and poor material for prairie farmers.” –William Brown, non-Jewish pioneer at their arrival.

The first year the settlers built shelters and cleared land.

In 1884 the colony consisted of 54 families – about 200 people. Each family received their 160 acres to homestead.

Then came the winters. Snow, more snow, cold. blizzards, etc.

By 1885 the colony was down to 40 families. The rest had moved to towns or cities. Some returned to Europe.

1888 was the year of a great drought.

In 1892 Joseph Nudelman moved his family, first to Portland, Oregon, and a year later to Tulare County in California, where 20 other families joined him.

The smaller colony later moved to different areas of the San Juaquin Valley and Carson City Nevada.


Eventually Joseph Nudelman returned to Portland, Oregon where he ran the Western Meat Market.

Like most Jewish agriculture colonies, the weather and work required did not last longer than the first generation – if even that long.



in 1887 Joseph Nudelman became active in the local New Jerusalem School Board as treasurer.

By 1888 Joseph Nudelman opened a postal station and renamed the North Dakota town “Nudelman.”



Joseph Nudelman married Anna Berth in Romania in his early 20s’

Together they had four children: Samuel, Maurice, Sophie, and Pearl.

Unfortunately, Anna Nudelman passed away in 1884 at 34 years of age.

Later in 1884, Joseph Nudelman married Fanny Kosowski.

Together they had three children: Hyman, Robert, and Dora.


Joseph Nudelman passed away in 1935


For more information see article in Western States Jewish History:

  • Joseph Nudelman: The Dakota Years, 1844-1934.  by Harvey J. Fields.; 35/1.

Most of this information came from Rabbi Harvey Fields, Great-Grandson of Joseph Nudelman.

Click on Photos to enlarge.

Any pictures of the extensive Nudelman family would be gratefully appreciated.