April 9, 2024
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Empty Nesters Are Thinking About Fort Lee

A mere 10 minutes away from the Modern Orthodox hub that is Teaneck is a beautiful, upscale city with all the amenities necessary to make empty nesters’ lives enjoyable and pleasant. Fort Lee has become a popular location for empty nesters and others looking to downsize. The city is particularly attractive for people who have children and grandchildren living in the area.

Herbert Speiser, an accountant with Speiser Rolnick in Teaneck, and his wife, Judy, currently reside in one of the many apartment buildings in Fort Lee. They relocated from Teaneck and are thrilled with their new home.

Said Speiser, “We are close to our grandchildren. This is the perfect place if you have family in Englewood or Teaneck, or even Queens. It only takes us a half hour to get to Queens to see our grandchildren.”

Speiser and his wife are members at the Young Israel of Fort Lee, a Modern Orthodox shul that has been in existence for over 35 years, where he was just installed as president. He is excited to begin his tenure, and eager to see what the future holds for the shul and community.

“We had 15 new members last year, and five families just moved in over the past six weeks,” Speiser commented. “The shul is growing.” The shul currently is home to over 140 families.

Speiser continued, “When you are ready to downsize, and want to stay near your kids in Bergen County, but not on top of your kids, Fort Lee is a great place to go. We all want to be close to our grandchildren.”

As for the amenities, Speiser said that the buildings are well equipped to allow for full and active lives for their residents, including Jewish lives. Many buildings now have Shabbat elevators, and others are in discussions to make it happen. Even where there is no Shabbat elevator, said Speiser, the concierge and other building workers are sufficiently aware of Jewish laws and customs that they enable the elevators to be usable on Shabbat.

There are social rooms that can be rented out as needed and, in fact, Speiser and his family rent his building’s social room each year on Purim to accommodate his family. One building boasts a theater, and most of the buildings have pools and fitness centers for residents’ use. Several of the buildings even provide bus service to Manhattan, offering easy access for those who work there or wish to go for entertainment purposes. Speiser’s building is only two blocks from the GWB, and he and his wife frequent Manhattan regularly and easily.

Speiser remarked that living in Fort Lee is similar to living in New York City, in that most community amenities are a quick walk from his front door. Nail salons, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, drugstores, hair salons and more are all easily accessible on foot, similar to their counterparts in Manhattan but without the Manhattan price tag.

Newcomers to the community are warmly welcomed into the Young Israel of Fort Lee family. Rabbi Zev Goldberg, spiritual leader, strives to make the shul a haven and a home for everyone and, according to Speiser, he has succeeded.

“The rabbi tries so hard to engage everyone,” said Speiser. “He has classes for congregants of all ages and works hard to keep everyone involved.”

The shul is very proud of its warm and welcoming environment. If you would like more information, please contact Young Israel of Fort Lee at [email protected]. Rabbi Goldberg can be reached at [email protected].

By Jill Kirsch

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