This coming Sunday, June 14th, is the OU's (Orthodox Union's) fair on emerging Jewish communities around the country. For those interested, you can register in advance at www.ou.org/communities, for the chance to win a laptop computer and other valuable prizes. For more information call 212.613.8188.
One of the primary purposes of the Jewish Economics Survey I've been carrying out is to gauge costs of living in different communities around the country, including smaller towns such as the ones listed. Obviously, data is harder to come by in those communities, but my guess is that those smaller communities which wish to pitch the idea of relocating to their communities would gain tremendously by being able to demonstrate just what their actual costs of living are.
The list of communities at this fair are interesting; some are obviously larger than others, and may have the advantage of being able to pitch "small but not too small" to people. I wish I could go, but alas, Serach is taking part in a fair in Brooklyn, selling her tichels and headbands. All the cities I've wanted to hear more about (Dallas, Memphis, Phoenix, et al) will be there, and I'm curious to hear how they each pitch their communities, particularly economically.
We'll actually be spending this Shabbos in one of those small communties, Harrisburg, PA, for my nephew's bris.
If anyone at the fair wants to mention/pitch my survey to representatives of different communities, I'd be really thrilled - the more this can spread, particularly to smaller communities, the greater the impact it can have in helping people determine where to live, understanding what things should cost, and hopefully improving how our Jewish communities run by making them more efficient and helping them learn from one another.
Communities that will be there according to the flyer:
Allentown, PA; Atlanta, GA; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Des Moines; IA; Fairfield, CT; Harrisburg, PA; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Malden, MA; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Phoenix, AZ; Providence, RI; Richmond, VA; San Francisco, CA; Southfield and Oak Park, MI; St. Louis, MO; Stamford, CT; Stony Brook, NY; Upstate, NY - Albany, Schenectady, Troy.