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Jewish traders arrived in the mid-18th century, but settlement did not start for another 100 years. Indiana, mainly a rural state, never achieved large Jewish settlement. Of the 18,000 Jews who live in the state, some 10,000 live in Indianapolis, 2,200 in Fort Wayne, 2,000 in South Bend, and 1,000 in Bloomington. The last is home to Indiana University, which has a well-known Judaic studies program. Indianapolis has well-established congregations and Jewish organizations. Indiana Jews have been active in civil and philanthropic life in the state.

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