Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Come My Way

Faygie Levy Holt

Smaller Jewish communities across the country are looking to grow numbers by enticing people away from big cities. Community recruiters make it happen

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


“It’s not like going to the moon. Cincinnati, for instance, is within driving distance of Lakewood, Brooklyn, Far Rockaway, and Baltimore. You’ll still make it to your family simchahs”

Binyamin Teitelbaum spent much of the spring handling calls from prospective homeowners asking about the local eiruv, taxes, job opportunities, and more. Teitelbaum, though, isn’t a realtor, but a community recruiter, one of a growing number whose goal is to help families make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. 

Many of those initial contacts take a similar track, says Teitelbaum, a member of the Cincinnati kollel. Either the husband or wife will call and say, “Hi, I saw your ad [in Mishpacha magazine or elsewhere] and want to hear more about Cincinnati. We’ve been considering moving out of town and want to learn more about it.” 

Oftentimes the questions they ask will also echo one another. “I get asked most about the level of chinuch in town, which is, baruch Hashem, an area our community invests heavily in. They also ask about the price of housing, which is affordable, and the type of people who comprise our community, which is fantastic,” he says.

“We were kind of frustrated because new families weren’t coming in. Either they didn’t know about Rochester, or they didn’t know it was a viable option”

According to the US Census Bureau, from 2012 to 2013, 35.9 million people in the United States moved residences. Spurred on by lower housing costs, family-related concerns, and job opportunities, they packed up and headed elsewhere. More than 4 million of those surveyed moved more than 200 miles from their previous home. 

Similar factors are influencing young religious families to pick up and move from traditionally popular and heavily Jewish neighborhoods in the New York metropolitan areas to small, out-of-town Jewish communities. Helping them navigate the ins and outs of relocating — from housing to schools, employment opportunities to grocery shopping — are dedicated full- or part-time recruiters. 

“I think the concept of a community-relocation specialist is becoming more of a professional position,” says Hannah Farkas, director of board engagement and new leadership at the Orthodox Union, who helps run the OU’s Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair. Held biennially since 2008 — the next one is in 2017 — the fair brings thousands of people considering a move together with representatives of Jewish communities in the United States and Israel that are looking to grow. 

“I happen to think it’s a very smart thing, because having lay leadership focus on the multiple components of helping people move can be draining on a community and its resources,” Farkas says. A designated point person can better facilitate in all the areas people are looking for, she added, from arranging for pilot trips to housing and jobs.

Related Stories

Deceptive Calm on the Northern Front

Binyamin Rose

While Israel is bracing for a third battle with Hezbollah a decade after the Second Lebanon War, is ...

Healer of a Broken People

Menachem Pines

On Rav Zalman Sorotzkin zt”l’s 50th yahrtzeit, Mishpacha opens a treasure trove of personal writings...

Lifelines: With Every Stitch

C. Saphir

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was just three years old when my Bubby’s friend asked m...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah