May 21, 2009

Contact: Stephen Steiner May 21, 2009 Director of Public Relations 212.613.8318; steiners@ou.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OU’S ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES NETWORK, WWW.OU.ORG/OCN, SHOWCASES 335 LOCALES COAST TO COAST Contrary to the belief of some, there are prominent Jewish communities outside of the New York area – plenty of them, in fact. So if you’re looking to visit one or relocate, the Orthodox Union website, the Orthodox Communities Network (OCN) is your best resource. As of now, 335 communities in the United States are listed on the OCN, www.ou.org/ocn. According to Gary Magder, OU Director of Internet Development, who is in charge of the OCN project, “The Orthodox Communities Network is a site created to showcase Jewish communities in the United States, Canada and around the world where there is at least one Orthodox synagogue. It is in effect a communities catalogue, listing the resources for Jewish life. “The point of the site is to show, at a glance, the Jewish services available in a given community,” said Magder. “It’s about jobs, synagogues, schools, mikvas, eruvs. It’s all there. It’s like a Facebook for Orthodox Jewish communities.” A helpful resource such as the OCN is particularly valued in these stressful economic times, as many people, especially those living in the costly New York area, are searching for jobs and less expensive locations for housing, yeshiva tuition and other observant Jewish lifestyle requirements. Although simple and convenient, the OCN needs some assistance. Communities must have a vested interest in promoting their information and must contribute to the website and assist in the compilation of information, Gary Magder declared. Once information is submitted and a community registers, a representative from each community, or “moderator,” is responsible for submitting the necessary updates on a regular basis. Some cities require multiple moderators because of their large size. The OU is now looking for community editors who will have the task of updating and creating community information. “This network will only really work if people see it as useful in promoting their communities,” said Magder. A “live” version of the website is the OU’s Emerging Jewish Communities: Home and Job Relocation Fair, which will showcase 22 communities coast-to-coast that are ready to assist in the search for employment, housing, and Jewish community concerns. The Fair will take place on Sunday, June 14 in New York. For those who can’t make it to the Fair, or who live outside of the New York area, the OCN site provides a profile on each of the participating communities. “It’s a work in progress,” said Magder. “And with the appropriate resources and community support, it will be a success.” To visit the OCN site, go to: http://www.ou.org/ocn. To volunteer to be a community editor, contact vogelj@ou.org. www.ou.org