With a growing number of Orthodox Jewish families frustrated with the high cost of living in major cities, many are prepared to make the move to “out of town” communities. The struggling economy has taken its toll on these families and some are out of work. Real estate and tuition costs in day schools in the big cities are sky high, and the pressures of “keeping up with the Cohens” are a reality they must face daily. As a result, many families want and need to make a change. They seek a warm environment with amenities suitable to their Orthodox Jewish lifestyle such as kosher food, a Hebrew Day School, a mikvah and synagogues. They also look for houses they can afford and for new job opportunities to support their families.
Recently, the Orthodox Union (OU) created a wonderful opportunity for such families and smaller Jewish communities to network – The OU Jewish Communities’ Home and Job Relocation Fair. Now in its fourth year, this year’s Fair was held on Sunday April 21, 2013 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. Forty smaller communities were represented, some for the first time – including Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Organizers of the event were anticipating over 1,000 people to attend. They were not disappointed.
The Scranton Jewish community decided to get involved to see if it could grow the community with young families whose children would consider attending the Scranton Hebrew Day School thereby adding to the vibrancy of the Orthodox community as a whole. A new website was created for this Initiative (www.jewishscranton.org) highlighting all the reasons that make Scranton a wonderful place to live. Visitors to the Scranton Booth at the Fair received a brochure on the Orthodox community to take home as well as sample newsletters from our synagogues, the Scranton Hebrew Day School, the JCC and the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Elisheva Lorber created a sheet of real estate listings with photos and financial information which was very informative as many people are looking for a more affordable community.
Approximately 100 persons visited the Scranton Booth at the Fair with sixty (60) leaving e-mail contact information thereby enabling us to invite them to a forthcoming Shabbos program in Scranton.
Many thanks to the Organizing Committee and to those who represented Scranton at the Fair. They included Rabbi Yisroel and Aviva Brotsky, Dr. Joel and Leah Laury, Meshulem and Rivky Epstein, Stuart and Elisheva Lorber, Rabbi Dovid Rosenberg, Rabbi Arye Jacubowicz and Dassy Ganz ………… and a special thank you is extended to those whose financial backing made this project possible – especially the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania.