Preparing to Relocate

Relocation from a Jewish perspective.

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"Lech Lecha," God says to Avram and Sarai in the early chapters of Genesis. "Go forth from your home to a place I will show you…."

Since biblical times, Jews have been leaving home, for reasons ranging from divine command to economic opportunity. Relocation is a big change, and you need to be prepared. 

Jewish Organizations

If you are already involved in organized Jewish life in your local community, look for parallel or similar institutions and programs in your new location. If not, consider this move an opportunity to explore your Judaism and Jewish communal life in a different way.

jewish movingHere are a few "basics" of organized Jewish communal life to explore regardless of your level of affiliation:

Synagogues

In small Jewish communities, the synagogue is often the only, or at least the strongest, sign of Jewish life. In large Jewish communities, joining a synagogue can help you find a niche group. Get a bulletin, try out different Shabbat services, and see if there is programming for the different demographic groups represented in your family. Even if you previously affiliated with a particular movement, don't let that stop you from checking out different options in your new hometown. Be on the lookout for congregations and havurot that are unaffiliated; they can usually be found in local Jewish newspapers, Jewish city websites, or federation lists. The following movements have lists to their affiliate synagogues: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Chabad-Lubavitch.

Jewish Community Centers

JCC's are a central address for Jewish culture and arts, health and fitness, age-specific programming, and camps. JCC's often have a wide range of services, from childcare and preschool for those with young children all the way to hot meals for seniors. Their membership staff will gladly take you on a tour of the facilities and get a free pass so you can check things out personally.

Jewish Culture

The Foundation for Jewish Culture has links to Jewish museums, theater groups, and film festivals.

Jewish Social Service Agencies

Jewish social service agencies provide support and guidance at all ages and stages of life. For more than 100 years, Jewish family and children's services agencies have been providing mental health and vocational counseling, case management, eldercare consultation, support groups, and financial support.

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Caron Blau Rothstein

Caron Blau Rothstein is the former Director of Special Projects at the Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore, MD. She is currently developing programming for Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, OR.