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Samaritan Brides at Premium

March 30, 1936
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The marriage problem is causing great concern to the ancient and fast-dwindling Samaritan community in Nablus, whose members do not marry outside their own community. They now number 200 souls in all.

There are twenty-five men seeking wives now and their choice is restricted to the fifteen unwed women. Some of the women are more than thirty years old, which is an advanced age for marriage in the East.

The brides shortage has prompted parents to set high requirements for suitors, including a dowry of $48. Parents whose daughters work and contribute to the family’s support are demanding much higher prices.

In protest against the high cost of marrying, some of the eligible men who are brothers or cousins of marriageable women are exercising their ancient prerogative of insisting that the younger girl not marry until they have been wed. This has brought the marriage market to a stalemate.

Several conferences have been held by the elders of the community, but no solution has been reached.

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