There is a buzz in the air, and excitement, hope, and infinite possibilities for the future. Those living in the New York area are being reminded once again that there is thriving Orthodox Jewish life that exists beyond the boundaries of New York City and its nearby suburbs. It is now no longer guesswork that people will relocate. Planning a move takes time, but there is no question that many will be packing their bags and calling for moving vans.
As a result, the Orthodox Union will hold its Fifth International Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair on Sunday, April 26 from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. – enough time to allow for the expected crowds, as previous Fairs have drawn thousands of people. The Fair will take place at a new and larger location, Metropolitan West, 639 West 46th Street, across from the Intrepid, in Manhattan.
In addition to the record 45 communities from 22 states from coast to coast being represented, the State of Israel will be represented by OU Israel and Nefesh b’Nefesh for the benefit of those thinking of making aliyah.
The Fair highlights growing and thriving communities across the United States that have the amenities of Orthodox life, at a lower cost of living than in the New York area, as well as substantial employment opportunities for newcomers.
These amenities include Orthodox synagogues, yeshivot/day schools, mikvaot, Judaica stores, and of course, the easy availability of kosher food.
OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin commented, “The decision to move is a significant one, and informed by a variety of factors. Whether you’re considering relocation for a career move, retirement community, or just a change of lifestyle, by attending the Jewish Community Fair you come one step closer to turning your dream into a reality.”
Participating towns in New Jersey are Cherry Hill, East Brunswick, Fair Lawn, Linden, Long Branch, Manalapan, Paramus, Springfield, Twin Rivers, and West Orange in New Jersey, and in New York they are: Fleetwood (Westchester County), Lido Beach, Long Beach, and for the first time, Mt. Kisco.
Stephen J. Savitsky, OU President in 2008 developed a picture of Orthodox Jewish life that made it clear that smaller communities, also referred to as emerging communities, would make fine homes for Orthodox Jews. “The objective behind establishing growing communities as places for relocation was the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained. “And as I visited these communities it became apparent that they offered desirable alternatives for the high cost of living an Orthodox Jewish life here.
“In addition,” Mr. Savitsky declared, “they also provided a quality of life that was not found in the big city. We established a Small/Emerging Communities Fair without ever dreaming how successful it would turn out to be. Over the years hundreds of families have moved to communities throughout North America and have been very happy in their new homes. The Fair has grown, the sophistication of the presentations has improved dramatically and many communities are now offering incentives for people to move, and viable jobs and business opportunities.
“While we at the OU always encourage aliyah as the first choice and OU Israel and Nefesh b’Nefesh are participating in this year’s Fair, we are realistic that there will be many Jews who would prefer to remain in the United States. I am personally looking forward to visiting the Fair and seeing many of my old friends who I have met over the years.”
“This year will see the largest community participation in the Fair’s history,” according to Rabbi Judah Isaacs, director of the Department of Community Engagement, which organizes the Fair. “Forty-five communities from throughout North America and dozens from Israel will be featured with the addition of Israeli communities adding an international flavor.”
“The Fair will highlight communities both big and small, geographically both close to New York City and far away, that all offer the amenities needed for an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle – day school, mikvah, eruv, availability of kosher food. There will also be an opportunity to tune up your resumé and network with the OU Job Board.”
OU Job Board International Director Michael Rosner explained, “We will be hosting a session ‘Networking for Relocators’ at two different times during the Fair. This event is open to serious relocation people looking to meet others in the same position; share experiences; get guidance and address concerns.”
In order to encourage aliyah to Israel, “Nefesh B’Nefesh will be hosting a number of sessions on employment, such as adjusting your resumé for the Israeli marketplace and helpful employment resources; practical tips on how to make the move to Israel; and profiling various communities that are popular for Anglo olim (emigrants) in Israel,” explained Yael Katsman, the organization’s director of marketing and communications. In addition, she said, “Nefesh B’Nefesh will have on hand professionals who specialize in community, education and employment issues as well as a number of representatives from leading Israeli municipalities with large Anglo populations.”
These communities will include Jerusalem, Israel’s north and south, Beit Shemesh, and Modiin, among others.
“More and more people are recognizing that Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are proud to be a part of the OU Community Fair in which we will be showcasing various communities throughout Israel, including up north and down south, that are popular with Anglo olim,” said Marc Rosenberg, director of pre-aliyah for Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We have assisted tens of thousands of olim from North America, and will be helping those attending the Fair to explore their aliyah options through tailored employment, social and educational sessions and together build a plan for creating a successful aliyah.”
For further information on the Fair, contact Hannah Farkas, the OU’s assistant director of Synagogue and Community Services, at 212-613-8351 or [email protected].