Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Thought I was Done with this

Once I got engaged, I thought I wouldn’t have to date anymore, but that’s pretty much what my experience was this past Sunday at the OU’s Emerging Communities Fair in The Grand Hyatt. For those unfamiliar, the OU sponsors an annual event wherein small, developing Jewish communities and Elizabeth, NJ convene in Manhattan to tell you what their community is about. The idea being that they can attract as many people as possible to help build up their community.

It was not too long before Erachet and I realized that like dating, many of the prospects began sounding the same. Every boasted of the accepting, close-knit community; “Laid back,” “friendly” and “warm” were terms I was used to reading on shidduch resumes, and I was now reading them on pamphlets about towns.

Also, I need to ask what is with the fascination with Jews and food? Should I really care about a kosher pizza store? Is that really the best way to win over a perspective community member? It’s nice icing on the cake, but I wouldn’t lead with that argument. Ability to attain kosher food (like meat and cheese) is important, but I am not making my decision of where to live based on the ability to easily grab a burger on the way home from Shul.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a number of communities that stood out (which I won’t mention right here), but for the most part they sounded the same. There were many places that were really pushing the fact that they had a low cost of housing, but was kind of offset by the lack of jobs available.

In the end, we figured out that just like dating, we weren’t getting enough of an idea about each community by just having someone talk about it, and reading a few brochures; we need to date each community for a while to see which one (if any) we like enough to take the next step. And the best part is we can date more than one simultaneously.


  1. Good Morning
    Now if this blog had a very wide audience, then now would be the time where less intelligent people would impulsively defend their own little community while at the same time clichely bash Flatbush/Brooklyn and for that matter the entire NYC. (Ironic, that the fine upstanding citizens of Outoftown, America resorts to this loshon hora on an entire city - but I'm getting off on a tangent here). However, since we have a relatively small select blog followship of smart individuals, then I'm sure we'll see a logical and rational discussion of what makes one community better then the other. In my humble opinion - or shall I say IMHO - the most important factor in deciding on a community, is the effect it will have on one's child/ren. Schools. Does the local school follow the hashkafa that I want for my child? - And if it does, are they a good school with good teachers? As for the rest of the issues, be it shopping, shuls, affordability, jobs, etc. I think that there is no one thing that makes or breaks the decision rather its a combination of all the other issues. But I understand that realistically there has to be close access to a job.
    As for all the other items - like you said - you don't decide based on if you can pick up a burger on the way home from shul.
    I personally have a place in mind for myself -A place that is out of Brooklyn, but in New York City. A place that has a good school (albeit a very large school which kind of scares me). A place that "feels like Outoftown" but isn't. A place that has NO STORES!!!! A place that is close enough for us to visit our parents and family but is not too close for comfort. A place that has ALL TYPES (jewish multi-culti). A place that is a drive and even a walk away to a whole different separate community. A place where we have relatives living already and they love living there. A PLACE WHERE I CAN CARRY ON SHABBOS YAY.
    As for Jewish fascination with food. It's more than fascination. It's an obsession. Hundreds of restaurants of all different types. Every shabbos and Yom Tov a feast is the norm. Every advertisement, be it for a shiur, chinese auction, some rebba visiting town - has in big letters HOT FOOD. (Obviously that is what gets the people to come. Think how embarrassing it would be if some event is planned and the turnout is really low because no food was advertised.) More on that over here:
    And that is my 2 cents.
    PS Clichely is not a word.

  2. This is not an impulse: I hate Flatbush/Brooklyn.
    Consider the requisite bashing met.

    Personally, I'd mix it up to see reactions by saying, "I am not looking for accepting- I am looking for this hashkafah and NOTHING else. I am not looking for close-knit - You think I want guests for Shabbos?! You think I want people to know my business and be all gossipy?! I am a recluse; consider me in the witness protection program and stay out of my life. The most interaction I want from you is to provide 9 others for a minyan."

    See what they boast then. I'm sure to snare you they will backpedal and change their sales pitch.

  3. Dude, you have clearly been dating someone you like for too long. Remember the awkwardness? The silences? The "Oh, hahaha, yeah, that's funny, uh-huh..."s and the "Well, I-- what? Oh. No. I mean, what were you going to say? No no, go ahead"s?

    Ain't no way community-shopping is as bad as all that, my friend.

  4. lawschooldrunk - At my table, I would have very frankly told you that we weren't the community for you. No sales pitch. :)