Location, location, location—while many newcomers to the Jewish community of Twin Rivers, NJ, first come for its central placement between Manhattan, the Jersey Shore, and Philadelphia, they stay for the warm, small town atmosphere.
Hadas Rosenthal has lived in Twin Rivers for the past three years. Though the location was her priority—her daughter is a cancer survivor, and Hadas wanted to make sure they were within close proximity to top children’s hospitals like CHOP in Philadelphia, and Sloan Kettering in NYC—Hadas quickly discovered the town’s other charms.
“This community is surprisingly affordable, and more importantly, its members of all varying levels of observance are all centered around one shul, Congregation Toras Emes,” she explained. “Everyone who belongs to the shul is comfortable, and there’s this really great sense of community.”
Led by Rabbi Aaron Grumen, the shul is comprised of about 70 member families and offers learning opportunities each day and night through its Daf Yomi program and evening kollel. The Shalom Heritage Center, a kiruv center headed by Rabbi Yisrael Nadoff, offers adult classes, Hebrew school, and regular programming for Yom Tov and other special events.
Twin Rivers has an eruv, a beautiful mikvah, and the local Shoprite has a Kosher Experience kiosk selling fresh kosher meat, fish and prepared foods. When it comes to Jewish education, location plays a role again: because Twin Rivers is just a mile off the Turnpike, there are easy commutes to yeshivot and day schools in Lakewood, Edison/Highland Park, and Pennsylvania. For any gaps in the town’s kosher and Judaic resources, Lakewood, a mecca of all things Jewish, is just a 30-minute drive away.
3-4 bedroom homes are often priced between $180-250,000, which makes Twin Rivers home to some of the most affordably-priced real estate in the tri-state area.
Rabbi Nadoff’s wife, Basie, grew up in Brooklyn and thought she would be bored outside the New York area.
“I quickly learned what a pleasure it is to live in a place like Twin Rivers,” she said with a laugh. “People are simply not stressed here, and it’s such a laid-back, genuine and cohesive community. I raised my kids here, and they love the community, and for young Jewish families in the city seeking more space and a diverse community, Twin Rivers should be at the top of the list.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.