Wednesday, February 12, 2014

South Florida, Surprisingly Jewish

The Forward has an article about the changing Jewish demographics in Southern Florida.  It should no longer be considered as mostly a retirement community.
Welcome to South Florida’s Jewish community, an amalgam of retirees, Latin American immigrants, Orthodox families, Holocaust survivors and plenty more.
More than half a million Jews live in three counties there – Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – making the region America’s third-largest Jewish metro area behind only New York and Los Angeles. Add in the smaller Jewish communities elsewhere in Florida, and one of every 10 American Jews resides in the Sunshine State.
While many are retirees, Florida isn’t just a place for elderly Jews. A combination of factors – lower costs of living than in the Northeast, the lack of state income tax, Jewish institutional infrastructure, the draw of Miami to Latin American immigrants and, yes, the weather – has helped turn Florida into one of America’s largest, most diverse and most unusual Jewish communities.
“I think today we are no longer simply a retirement community,” said Jewish demographer Ira Sheskin, a professor of geography at the University of Miami.

Read more:
I agree.  I noticed that when I was there very recently visiting cousins.  Actually two of my aunts and their families moved to Miami in the 1950's and raised their children, six of my cousins, there.  So I've always known that "regular Jews of all ages" live in Florida.  I also have friends with young children who have relocated to Florida in more recent years.  It's like New York with better weather and less expensive real estate.

I spent a lovely Shabbat with a family who are active in the Young Israel of Hollywood, Hollywood, Florida, of course.  I saw an extremely large, warm Orthodox community. I saw kosher restaurants all over, Miami, Aventura, Hollywood, and ate in a few.  There's also a fascinating Jewish Museum.

Here are some of the more "Jewish Pictures" I took there:

Of course, as lovely as the visit was, I still think that we Jews should be in Eretz Yisrael, The Land of Israel.


shimonmatisyahu said...

Yes, South Florida, particularly the Miami area, is where I am from and resided until I made Aliyah. Nice to know of others who have relatives in this part of the world.

Batya said...

sm, for sure. I was very impressed, but also saddened, because the more comfortable Jews are in Chu"L the less likely to make aliyah.

Sammy Finkelman said...

What is the explanation of that picture of what looks like a tree with a human hand at the top?

Batya said...

Sammy, I think my cousin said that it was the Holocaust Memorial.

Shy Guy said...


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