Is Long Branch, New Jersey an up-and-coming relocation destination for observant Jewish families?
The Orthodox Union seems to think so. The Long Branch/Elberon section of Monmouth County is one of 36 Jewish communities around the nation selected to be featured at OU’s “Emerging Communities Home and Job Fair,” on Sunday, March 27 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Congregation Brothers of Israel (CBI) in Elberon and Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore (YJS) in Deal Park will represent the region at the fair.
The third OU fair of its kind, this year’s event expects to attract up to 1,000 people. The fair was created to encourage residents from the New York metropolitan area to consider relocating to smaller communities that can offer a high quality of observant Jewish life in a more affordable setting.
“Our goal is to let people know there is vibrant Jewish life outside the New York area, and that Judaism is alive and well in places like Southfield, Michigan and Phoenix, Arizona,” said Frank Buchweitz, national director of community services and special projects with the New York based Orthodox Union. “In many cases housing outside the New York area may be more affordable, and the sense of community may be warmer or closer-knit. Sometimes people feel they have the opportunity to have a real say in smaller communities.”
The thriving beachfront community of Long Branch and Elberon was selected to join the fair because of its plethora of Jewish resources, such as synagogues, schools, kosher establishments, mikvaot, and a full service Jewish Community Center, as well as its relatively low cost of living and employment opportunities. It is one of only five New Jersey towns to participate in the fair, including Cherry Hill, Springfield, Linden and Parsippany.
“Elberon is the place to be for today’s modern Orthodox Jews looking to get away from the heavily congested and high-priced areas of northern New Jersey and New York,” said Dr. Andrew Samuel, CBI’s membership committee chairman. “It offers all the mainstays of a close-knit Jewish community.”
CBI and YJS will send representatives to the fair, laden with display tables and exhibits touting the Jersey Shore community and all it has to offer. Based in Elberon with a satellite shul on Ocean Avenue in Long Branch, CBI is the largest Ashkenazi synagogue at the shore. Founded in 1898, CBI is the only modern Orthodox shul in the Long Branch/Elberon area with an OU affiliation.
“Our residents like to say that Elberon and Long Branch are the best kept secrets in modern Orthodoxy,” said Rabbi Nasanayl Braun, spiritual leader of CBI, which boasts 230 families. Braun and his family moved to the area five years ago from New York, where he served as assistant rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue.
“We are growing steadily every year, especially since the creation of Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore. The growth is also due to the inclusive nature of our shul, the meaningful davening, and our full range of programs and services, from weekly Gemara shiurim and halacha classes, to women’s lecture series, and shabbatot/scholar-in- residence programs,” the Rabbi said.
In addition to the lower cost of living, this year’s fair will emphasize jobs. While the communities are not expected to guarantee jobs, representatives will be versed to help guide job seekers. CBI will offer lists of the largest employers in the county, as well as information on job postings.
The health care industry has attracted many of CBI’s newest families to the area, Samuel said. “With three state-of-the-art teaching medical centers within an 8-mile radius of Elberon, many people move here for residencies and internships. They like it so much, they end up settling and practicing here,” said Samuel, a periodontist with a practice in Ocean Township.
Ocean Township real estate broker Michael Danziger will provide housing information in a wide price range, as well as mortgage rate packages.
“We are honored to have been selected to showcase our community at the fair,” said Samuel. “We are very fortunate that our community is large enough to offer everything, yet small enough where every family counts.” – By Jill Garbi
A complete alphabetical list of participating communities at the fair:
Allentown, PA; Austin, TX; Binghamton, NY; Cherry Hill, NJ; Chesterfield, MO; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Fairfield, CT; Harrisburg, PA; Jacksonville, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Linden, NJ; Long Branch, NJ; Malden, MA; Merrick, NY; Metairie, LA; Milwaukee, WI; New Haven, CT; Norfolk, VA; Oceanside, NY; Overland Park, KS; Parsippany, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Plainview, NY; Rochester, NY; Roslyn, NY; Sacramento, CA; San Antonio, TX; Southfield, MI; Springfield, NJ; Stamford, CT; White Oak, PA; Wynnewood, PA; and Roslyn Heights, NY.
For more information, contact the Orthodox Union at (212) 613-8188 or visit www.oucommunity.org