OU Communities Fair Draws Largest Crowd Yet

community fair

Left to right: Orlando residents Dr. Tovah and Ephraim Ellman and Rabbi Avraham Wachsman, dean of Orlando Torah Academy, representing the Orlando community at the most recent communities fair. Photo: M. Kruter

With over 1,500 people in attendance, the OU’s Fifth International Jewish Communities Home and Job Relocation Fair, held this past April in Manhattan, saw the largest participation in the fair’s history. Forty-seven communities in twenty-two states were present, including some new communities such as Silicon Valley, California; Orlando, Florida; South Bend, Indiana; Mt. Kisco, New York; Charleston, South Carolina and San Antonio, Texas. In addition, for the first time, the State of Israel was represented at the fair by OU Israel and Nefesh b’Nefesh for the benefit of those thinking about aliyah.

The communities fair highlights thriving communities across the United States that have the amenities of Orthodox life, at a lower cost of living than in the New York City area. 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 remarks, “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 or just a change of lifestyle, by attending the Jewish communities fair, you come one step closer to turning your dream into a reality.”

“The motivation behind establishing growing communities as places for relocation was the excessive cost of housing and education in the New York metropolitan area,” explains Steve Savitsky, former OU president and the visionary behind the communities fair. Mr. Savitsky clarified that Israel is still the ultimate goal. “While we at the OU always encourage aliyah as the first choice . . . we are realistic that there will be many Jews who prefer to remain in the United States.”

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This article was featured in the Fall 2015 issue of Jewish Action.
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