On April 6, the OU is putting on an event at the Grand Hyatt in New York – the Emerging Jewish Communities Showcase.

Your next community is coming to visit you!
Pursue your dream of a professionally enriching, religiously and personally rewarding life in a community with affordable homes in a friendly, supportive neighborhood, where you can be a key person, helping to bolster the Torah environment.

The cities involved are Indianapolis, New Orleans, Edmonton, Charleston, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Memphis, Oakland, San Francisco, Omaha, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver. This looks like a fascinating study in what it takes to build community – for any little population – as well as how small communities market themselves. I know that our local OU rabbi is busting his butt trying to revive his old shul and this sort of event is a great chance for him to make his case to young couples who are tired of paying New York rents. (Not that they’ll do much better in San Francisco…)
Of course price-fueled moves don’t just happen on the big, inter-city level. It happens all the time on the intracity level when communities send off little offshoots of folks who can’t or won’t choose to afford overpriced homes in traditional neighborhoods. I have watched in the last five years as a new observant community has sprung up on the edges of the Mission in San Francisco – previously it was the western neighborhoods or bust.
What other cities that you live in have witnessed offshoots recently? How long does it take for one community to splinter into two, into four? And if you’re trying to attract new young families to your smaller city, what kind of lures do you need for them?
The Forward: High Cost of Living Leads Orthodox To Look Beyond Borders of New York