Preparing to Relocate

Relocation from a Jewish perspective.

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birthright israel alums can connect with others who went on an Israel trip and now live in your new hometown. The local Hillel may have a graduate student and/or young professionals group, or perhaps your university has its own local Jewish alumni association. Social networking sites such as Meetup and Facebook can also be used to either seek out people in your area.

Singles may also want their involvement to provide opportunities to meet a special someone. Investigate sites like JDate to get a sense of the number of Jews in your age bracket in the new city, and how this compares to where you are now.

Families

Families will want to consider the Jewish options for youth. Are the synagogues in the new area child friendly? Do they have extensive children's programming, or are the demographics of the congregation--and therefore its programming--skewed towards people without children?

Families with school-aged children should explore Jewish education options. What is the quality of local supplementary schools and are they easy to access from area public and private schools? Are there Jewish day schools? RAVSAK, the independent day school network can help you locate a school, and each Jewish religious movement has links on its particular website to its affiliated schools. The community may also have a central agency of Jewish education with consultants available to help you make Jewish education decisions for your family.

Beyond the synagogues and schools, what does the local Jewish community have to offer your children? Is there a JCC that offers programming for all family members? Are there Jewish childcare options, youth groups and camps? JCCs and synagogues can help to provide some answers.

If one adheres more strictly to Jewish law, are there plentiful kosher food options? Are there good neighborhoods in walking distance of traditional congregations, and an eruv to permit carrying on Shabbat between home and synagogue? A community directory, Jewish information service, or local traditional synagogue should be able to answer such questions.

If you are part of an intermarried family, check out the Jewish Outreach Institute. JOI provides links to local communities and programming that is welcoming to interfaith families.

Retirement

Older adults may choose to move to live in a better climate or to be closer to children and grandchildren. Alternatively, adult children may initiate a move to bring frail parents nearby. In any case, services exist to ensure a smoother transition. The Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies has a directory of its local affiliates and a directory of elderly support services. This list can help a family with ailing parents find support services or help active adults find volunteer opportunities in their new locale.

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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.