From Maine to California, 36 Orthodox communities, some offering incentives, extend the welcome mat at the OU’s Emerging Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair, March 27 in New York.
As an integral aspect of its philosophy that the North American Orthodox Jewish community does not begin and end in the New York metropolitan area, and that communities outside of New York regardless of size offer opportunities for a fulfilling Orthodox lifestyle, the Orthodox Union will present its third “Emerging Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair.” It will be held on Sunday, March 27 from 12:00 noon- 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Hundreds of people, many of them young couples with strollers, attended the first two events.
As in the past, jobs and their availability in the participating communities will be an integral part of the Fair. In addition, some of the communities will be offering financial incentives for people to relocate there.
This year 36 communities from Maine to California (and lots of places in between, including suburban Long Island, NY, New Jersey and Connecticut) will make presentations to the New Yorkers the OU is hoping will consider the move. The concept of having New York-area residents learn about other Jewish communities began in 2008 with the first Fair, and continued in 2009, when jobs began to be emphasized following the outbreak of the great recession. Then-OU President Stephen J. Savitsky, now the organization’s Chairman of the Board, considered it one of the priorities of his six-year administration to strengthen Orthodox communities outside of New York, and thereby build up the synagogues and other Jewish institutions in those areas.
His successor, Dr. Simcha Katz, has continued that tradition. “The hundreds of people who attend each of our community Fairs have made it clear that they are looking for an Orthodox community that affords the possibility of a more relaxed and economical existence than is available in New York, while fulfilling the requirements of an Orthodox way of life: OU synagogues, yeshivot/day schools, availability of kosher food, communal resources such as mikvaot and Judaica stores, and wherever possible, an eruv. Each of the participants in this year’s Fair provide these opportunities.”
According to Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects, and the Fair’s coordinator, “We have 36 communities that are participating in this third Fair. We began with 14 in year one; 24 in year two and now, 36. For the first time, we have included communities in the Tri-State area that are approximately one hour or more out of New York City. A diverse representation of vibrant Orthodox Jewish life is being represented, and we invite families, as well as individuals looking to relocate, to explore the many possibilities and opportunities available for them at the Fair. Whether it is employment, cost of living, affordable housing, or close-knit communities — they can be found through meeting the communal representatives who will be present to discuss the purposes and incentives involved in relocating.”
Descriptions of each participating community and of any incentives they may be offering to relocate may be found at www.oucommunity.org and clicking on each community.
Given the economy, the availability of jobs is a key element in any consideration of relocation. According to Michael Rosner, director of the OU Job Board, “Nothing is more critical in getting families to move into your area than being able to provide for a livelihood. The OU Job Board is committed to make this venture as successful as possible by helping communities find and post jobs prior to the Fair to spark interest and excitement of people looking to move there.”
According to Mr. Rosner, “The communities must develop the jobs. Once they send me jobs, I will in turn develop additional jobs for the community.”
The participating communities include:
- Arizona: Phoenix
- California: Sacramento
- Connecticut: New Haven, Stamford
- Florida: Jacksonville
- Kansas: Overland Park (Kansas City area)
- Louisiana: Metairie (New Orleans suburb)
- Maine: Bangor
- Massachusetts: Malden (north of Boston), Springfield
- Michigan: Southfield (Detroit suburb)
- Nevada: Las Vegas
- New Jersey: Cherry Hill, Elizabeth, Linden, Long Branch, Manalapan, Parsippany, Springfield
- New York: Binghamton, Merrick (Long Island), Oceanside (Long Island), Plainview (Long Island), Rochester, Roslyn (Long Island), Willowbrook (Staten Island)
- Ohio: Columbus
- Pennsylvania: Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, White Oak (suburb of Pittsburgh), Wynnewood (suburb of Philadelphia)
- Tennessee: Memphis
- Texas: Austin, Dallas
- Virginia: Norfolk, Richmond
- Wisconsin: Milwaukee
Stephen Steiner is Director of Public Relations for the Orthodox Union
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.