OU Invites Prospective Houstonians to CHAT

17 Feb 2012


So you would like to investigate a move to Houston based on the Orthodox Union choosing it as the first community of its Affordable Orthodox Living program? Houston’s CHAT committee (Come to Houston and Thrive), which is working closely with the OU, is eager to hear from you.

According to Rabbi Moshe Davis in Houston, who is splitting his time between CHAT and the Orthodox Union, the committee may be reached at www.relocatehouston.org, via e-mail at {encode=”mailto:info@relocatehouston.org” title=”info@relocatehouston.org”}, or by calling 713-487-9295.

Houston is the fourth largest American city, with an estimated 2010 population of 2,100,000, but with a cost of living far more affordable than the three largest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. According to one local rabbi’s estimate, there are 400-500 Shomer Shabbat families in Houston. The goal of the Affordable Orthodox Living program is to have 100 families move there over the next few years.

The program represents a joint effort of the OU and the Orthodox community of Houston – its synagogues, day schools and other institutions – with the Texas metropolis projected to be followed by four or five other communities once the program takes hold. Meanwhile, Houston is first, to the delight of both the OU and the Orthodox population of that city.

“If we were going to be successful at the OU, we had to focus on smaller Orthodox communities (even if the city is large) to provide options for our people,” explained OU Chairman of the Board and past President Stephen J. Savitsky, the driving force behind the program. “The communities we evaluated for Affordable Orthodox Living had to be established – with synagogues, schools, kosher food, kosher restaurants, mikvaot, an eruv. Housing had to be affordable and jobs available. We wanted the host community to come together as one to work on this project. Houston has people who share our vision and are willing to work with us. The OU is prepared to provide the financial and human resources to make this program work.”

“We’re committing the resources of the Orthodox Union to help the community grow,” Mr. Savitsky said. “Anything and everything we can do to help achieve that objective, we’re going to do. It’s a fantastic community. I believe there are a lot of people in New York, in Los Angeles, in other major cities who are struggling and who would be interested. People are choking on the expenses. At the OU we are looking one and two generations ahead, to the future of our people. The fact that we selected Houston among all the cities of the United States – we want it to be a winner. It will help the Orthodox community, and the Jewish community as a whole.”

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