OU Communities and Jobs Fair Photo Essay
By Stephen Steiner, OU Director of Public Relations
Photos by Judah Harris and Efraim Tabak
The Orthodox Union’s fourth Jewish Communities and Job Relocation Fair brought 1,300 participants to Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion on Sunday, encompassing the representatives of the 41 communities on display and the New York-area residents thinking about relocating to communities North, South, East and West where living expenses (including yeshiva tuition) are more affordable and life is more relaxed.
When the first Fair was held in 2008, in the presidency of Stephen J. Savitsky, 12 communities were present; 23 in 2009; and 37 in 2011. The growth in both participating communities and attendees indicate that Mr. Savitsky’s idea has much merit. “If we want a continuity of Jewish life, we need to provide a better quality of Jewish life,” he said at the Fair. Two things have changed as the Fair has expanded, he said. “The communities have become more sophisticated; they are really marketing themselves. And the people that come to the event are much more focused on moving.”
That’s not all. According to Rabbi Judah Isaacs, director of the OU Department of Community Engagement which produced the Fair, with the coordination of Hannah Farkas, the Fair “also reinvigorates older communities with new young families, who bring new ideas and new vitality to community life.”
As a result, a stroller parking area was a must for families bringing their little ones. Another must was the involvement of the OU Job Board, under the direction of Michael Rosner. The Job Board worked with all of the communities, identifying jobs which would be available to newcomers. There was also a Job Board Resumé Tune-Up Area, to work with the Fair’s guests on improving their presentations.
In the end, what everything came down to was the visitor/community relationship. Based on the experience of the 2011 Fair, which resulted in 19 relocations, the moving vans, real estate agents, yeshiva administrators and OU synagogues will be active over the next year or so, as the seeds planted last Sunday at the Fair bear fruit in enriched Jewish communities.
A look at some Fair highlights follows:
Registering was easy thanks to a team of young volunteers. (Efraim Tabak)
The stroller parking area is a must for an OU Community Fair. (Efraim Tabak)
With the stroller parked, this toddler navigates the Fair in Daddy’s arms. (Efraim Tabak)
It’s a good idea to make a plan before beginning the cross-country trek. (Judah Harris)
Road signs made it easy to find each community’s display. (Efraim Tabak)
Let’s see what’s down this aisle. (Judah Harris)
Austin, Texas – a fine city for a young man and his teddy bear. (Judah Harris)
The Resumé Tune-Up area was busy all day, with experts from the OU Job Board providing guidance. (Efraim Tabak)
Communities provided much to think about. This is Dallas’ sales pitch. (Judah Harris)
And this is Elizabeth/Hillside, New Jersey’s message. (Efraim Tabak)
Providence, RI, had one of the most unique displays, featuring a lighthouse. (Judah Harris)
All roads lead to Long Branch, NJ. (Judah Harris)
Linden, NJ brightened up the Fair. (Efraim Tabak)
In the end, it all comes down to the children. Springfield, NJ provided a coloring area, to keep them occupied while their parents visited nearby booths. (Judah Harris)