Warm, inclusive and extremely affordable, the Jewish community of Northeast Philadelphia is close enough to NY that residents can easily visit friends and family in the tri-state area. The advantageous location, cost of living, and vast Jewish resources in place for residents make NE Philadelphia a perfect choice for Jews tired of city traffic and soaring costs of housing and yeshiva tuition but aren’t quite ready to venture too far.
Rabbi Yehoshua Yeamans leads B’nai Israel Ohev Zedek, one of five Orthodox shuls in the area.
Other shuls include Ahavas Torah, Beth Medrash Harav, a Sefardi minyan, and a Chabad.
“No matter what your background is, you will find a shul for you here,” said Rabbi Yeamans, who moved to NE Philadelphia a year and a half ago. “Many people belong to more than one shul. This is a very warm, sincere, and wholesome community, and there are no divisions or the mentality that like sticks only with like.”
Families have several options for day school and high school. Children in grades K-8 can attend Politz Hebrew Academy, Torah Academy, Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School, Politz Cherry Hill, or Abrams Academy, while high school students can attend the Kosloff Torah Academy for girls, Mesivta Beis Dovid for boys, Foxman Torah Institute of Cherry Hill for boys, Kohelet Yeshiva High School for boys and girls, or the famed Philadelphia Yeshiva for boys.
The local ShopRite has an expansive kosher section, and, for those who don’t feel like cooking, there are several takeout options including the Judah Mediterranean Grill, Espresso Café, or Pizza Leega. You can also grab a quick cone at Rita’s Ice.
With an eruv, mikvah, and so many other resources of a larger Jewish community, Northeast Philadelphia has the infrastructure of a relatively large Jewish community with the feel of a small community. It’s also quite possible to purchase a comfortable home for close to $200,000 while paying just $2,000 in property taxes, to emphasize the area’s affordability.
Rabbi Yeamans praises the way community residents respect rabbonim, all of whom work closely with one another on events, programming, and other communal issues.
“We had a beautiful event last year where the rabbis rotated among the different shuls over Shabbos to give divrei Torah, and on motzei Shabbos, the whole community came together for a unity event,” he said. “It was a perfect example of the type of achdus that exemplifies this community.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.