(Courtesy of Baron Hirsch Congregation) Faced with skyrocketing costs of housing and education, an increasing number of young Orthodox families are choosing to move to the vibrant, welcoming and affordable community of Memphis, Tennessee. Specifically, over 40 Orthodox families have relocated to Memphis over the past four years, moving from cities including Boston, Cincinnati, Teaneck, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle.
The Memphis Orthodox community will be showcasing itself at a “Taste of Memphis” weekend October 19-21. Visitors will enjoy a memorable weekend featuring the finest in Southern home hospitality. They will have multiple opportunities to interact with engaging families and speak with employment and real estate experts. On Friday, visitors can tour the newly remodeled Beit Midrash at the Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South (MHA/FYOS; age 2 through 12th grade), Bornblum Jewish Community School (Grades K-8), the fabulous JCC, and the city’s historic sights. On Sunday, visitors will experience the 30th annual Kosher Barbeque Competition and Festival at Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Synagogue.
Memphis is well known as a tourist attraction. Six hundred thousand 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 all popular destinations as well. What is less known is that Memphis boasts an extremely vibrant Jewish community, which includes four Orthodox shuls, a bustling JCC, a kosher bakery, a large eruv, two kollels, two mikvahs, kosher delis and plenty of kosher food.
Additionally, Memphians enjoy a relaxed, stress-free lifestyle. Drs. Ari and Lindi VanderWalde recently moved to Memphis from Los Angeles. They stated that “it is the rare city where one can experience both small-town perks and an exceptional Jewish community. The pace of life is slow and very family-friendly. There is an abundance of outdoor space, and the kids are able to 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, accommodating and genuinely care about each other. And traffic is now a thing of the past!”
To encourage Jewish families to explore life in Memphis, the community is offering a generous incentive package, including a $250 subsidy towards a family’s flights for a weekend visit. New Memphians will receive three months of free membership at the JCC. Also, students enrolling at either Jewish day school will receive a discount for the 2019-20 academic year. Lastly, families who move to Memphis will receive $500 towards relocation expenses.
According to Jessica Baum, a volunteer leader of this initiative, “We are confident that our ‘Taste of Memphis’ weekend will again be successful. This experience will enable young families to discover that Memphis is the ideal destination for those seeking a fantastic quality of life with all of the Jewish amenities.”
“We are so excited by how many families have recently made Memphis their home,” added Joel Siegel, another volunteer leader. “They have been welcomed with open arms by our community and are integrating seamlessly.”