4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Orthodox Community
You are thinking about moving, and you want to choose the right Orthodox community in which to settle down. Either you are ready to move out of your little apartment in Manhattan or Queens, or you are getting tired of your commute. Or you are having a baby and now you need to think about schools, and a bigger house. Or the Jewish educational options where you are living aren’t right for your kids. Or you are just ready for a change.
Where do you start?
Here are 4 important areas to think about:
1. Is This House Breaking My Bank Account?
It’s no secret: well established Orthodox communities are concentrated near large metropolitan areas where housing is often pricey. You could get stuck paying a large part of your income into your mortgage or rent. Or you might have to pay a large sum for a space that’s not really big enough for your family.
A few communities stand out above the rest.
Religious families in Wynnewood, PA have found, for example, 3-bedroom row homes in their area ($170,000), 2-bedroom condos ($55,000 & up), 3-bedroom semi-detached twins ($200,000 & up), and single detached houses ($300,000 & up). That’s a lot better than you can do in the New York area, Chicago, L.A., or even in other parts of Philadelphia.
2. Baby, You’ve Got [Jewish Education] Options
If you have school-age children, do you have Jewish education options for them in your location? What kinds of Jewish schools are available in the area? Is the quality good just for elementary school? Or do they go all the way through the end of high school? Is the secular education offered at the schools quality enough to get your kids into good colleges? Do they teach Gemara? Are boys and girls separate or not? So many questions. And that’s before you start thinking about tuition.
A website called “Niche” publishes a list of the best Jewish schools in America based on data from government sources, test scores and several other factors. But it doesn’t consider many of the social and religious factors that parents might be interested when deciding whether to move to a community, like how well they teach Hebrew, or whether they tend to inspire their students with the Jewish heritage they transmit, or send kids to Yeshivas in Israel.
The best Jewish education options are also concentrated near large cities on the coasts, Chicago, and a few other locations throughout the country.
3. Can You Get a Job?
Yeah, you could move to a far-out community where housing is inexpensive. But you’ll likely have to compromise on Jewish education and job availability. Studies show that long commutes are bad for your social life, physical health, and make you less happy. This isn’t something that is specific to the Orthodox/religious/frum world, but its another important factor to balance among others when choosing a community for your family.
4. A Shul That’s Right For You
Do you want to go to a shul that has a diverse group of interesting, nice people who will become your family? One that is not too-small, but not too-big? It can be hard to figure this out. Once you have figured out the other pieces of the puzzle and narrowed your choices, look at the shuls in the area and connect with shul members. Talking to them will help give you a sense whether you are entering a place that’s heimish or where people give each other a bit more distance.
B’Hatzlacha on your search!
In the meantime, we invite you to talk to us about the Jewish community in Wynnewood, PA. Wynnewood is a 20-minute drive from downtown Philadelphia, with all the incredible job opportunities it offers. Wynnewood is also near 11 excellent Jewish schools from across the religious spectrum including Modern Orthodox, centrist, yeshivish, etc. We are one of the most affordable Jewish communities on the east coast in terms of housing availability and options. And we welcome everyone like family. Contact us to today to learn about our relocation package, which includes fiancial incentives, day school scholarships, JCC family membership discounts, and assistance in purchasing a home through discount packages on closing costs to families.