Faced with skyrocketing housing and education costs, an increasing number of young Jewish families are choosing to move to the vibrant, affordable, and friendly community of Memphis, Tennessee. As one visitor recently described the community, it’s a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
In an effort to prove this assertion and recruit new families to the city, the Memphis Jewish community will showcase itself during its second “Taste of Jewish Memphis” Shabbaton over the weekend of May 30. Visitors will enjoy a fantastic Shabbat featuring Southern hospitality, a communal Shabbat dinner, and Shabbat lunch with host families. They will have multiple opportunities to interact with engaging Jewish families and speak with employment and real-estate experts. On Friday and Sunday, visitors can tour the Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South (MHA/FYOS), explore the newly renovated JCC, and visit the city’s historic sites.
Memphis is well known as a tourist attraction—600,000 people come yearly to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Sun Studio, the Gibson Guitar Factory, Beale Street, and the National Civil Rights Museum are popular destinations as well. Memphis also boasts an extremely vibrant Jewish community, including four Orthodox synagogues with dynamic rabbis, the aforementioned Orthodox day school, a bustling JCC, and wide availability of kosher food. Additionally, Memphis is atypical in that all of the city’s Jewish organizations collaborate with each other. “There is a unity among all the Jews in Memphis that is truly unique and can be largely attributed to the JCC, which is central in the lives of many Jews, observant and non-observant,” said Chana Nelson, who moved to Memphis with her family in 2007.
Not only does the Memphis community present a cohesive and welcoming atmosphere for any Jew, the city also lends itself to a relaxed, stress-free lifestyle. Drs. Lindi and Ari Vanderwalde moved to Memphis one year ago from Los Angeles. When asked what they like best about Memphis, they responded: “It is the rare city where one can experience both small-town perks and an exceptional Jewish community, complete with choices of schools, synagogues, and activities. The pace of life is slow, easy, and family-friendly. There is an abundance of outdoor space and the kids are able to both explore and play safely. Protecting family time is a cultural value in the city—the workday ends comparatively early for even the busiest professionals. People are friendly and accommodating, and genuinely care about each other. And traffic is now a thing of the past!”
Memphis offers an abundance of diverse opportunities in educational, cultural, and social activities while also extending the warm Southern hospitality for which it has become famous. Visitors and new Memphians are immediately embraced by the community. Rachel and Steven Schwartzberg moved to Memphis from New York in 2011. They recalled that “people were clamoring to meet us when we moved in and we didn’t eat Shabbos lunch at home for the first six months we lived here!”
Families new to Memphis find that not only is there an abundance of wonderful activities and attractions for children, they are also all accessible. Rachel and Dr. Joel Siegel moved to Memphis ten years ago from Manhattan and have four children. They stated, “We love all of the kid-friendly places to go in Memphis. The JCC is our favorite destination and our home away from home. There, our children play on numerous sports teams, spend hours at the amazing water park, hang out with friends, paint in the art room, watch performances in the theater, and attend numerous other programs. Besides the JCC, we also enjoy the Memphis Zoo, the new biking trail, and the FedEx Forum for events such as Monster Jam, Disney on Ice, and Grizzlies basketball games.”
Memphis is the ideal destination for a family looking for a place to live with a fantastic quality of life and all of the Jewish amenities. In addition to offering flight subsidies for any family visiting the community for a weekend, they are also offering a generous communitywide incentive package to all new Jewish families coming to Memphis. The package includes 50% off of full tuition for 2015–16 and 25% off of full tuition for the 2016–17 school year at MHA/FYOS. New Memphians also receive a free year of membership at any of the Orthodox shuls and three free months of membership at the JCC. Lastly, the first ten Jewish families that move to Memphis will receive $500 in relocation costs.
Please visit www.100newfamilies.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-219-9794 for more information.