Las Vegas might be known globally for its rich casino industry, but there’s a thriving Jewish community that has managed to make the city of sin a city of holiness, too.
With ten shuls, four Jewish schools, three mikvaot, nine kosher restaurants, an eruv and a strong NCSY chapter, Las Vegas has a robust Jewish infrastructure in place.
“It’s unusual for an out-of-town community to have so many resources,” said Rabbi Avi Anderson, who is the associate rabbi at the Young Israel Aish, a Modern Orthodox shul with about 100 member families. And there are plenty of other perks that come with this community.
“My wife and I moved from Washington Heights just under three years ago, and our initial impression was that everything here takes less time and occurs in a much smoother fashion,” said Rabbi Anderson. “We were so used to no parking, traffic and long lines, and here, driving is such a pleasure and against a beautiful scenic mountain backdrop, too. In fact, the entire lifestyle is just simpler and an overall pleasure.”
The higher quality of living also comes with a lower price tag—a four-bedroom home in the community might cost $300,000, and Las Vegas has no state income tax.
Chabad has had a strong presence in Las Vegas for many years and founded the Desert Torah Academy, one of the two Orthodox day schools in the area. The other Orthodox school, the Yeshiva Day School, has a faculty which includes many rebbeim who learn in the community kollel, founded in 2008 by Chofetz Chaim and Torah Mesorah.
Other Las Vegas Jewish day schools include Solomon Schechter and the Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy. Many families send their children to LA for yeshiva high school, although it’s only a matter of time before a local one is established thanks to the continued growth of Vegas’s Jewish community.
“The community itself is very warm and welcoming, and really helps make a move here a seamless operation,” said Rabbi Anderson.
Las Vegas is also quite literally warm – the desert oasis offers beautiful weather year-round, perfect for a host of outdoor activities. Then there’s the indoor entertainment, much of which is kosher since Las Vegas also invests in attracting families, and includes cultural offerings like museums and art galleries.
“We have a thriving kosher infrastructure and amenities, and all of the conveniences of a big city without any of the hassles,” said Rabbi Anderson. “I like to tell people planning to move here that their lives are about to get much easier.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.