For the third year in a row, the OU is holding a dying communities fair to lure poor New Yorkers to the rust belt in search of a better life, cheaper tuition and really low property values. For many people, the decision is tough, leaving New York means leaving family and friends behind, but many of the communities featured are so close to dead, that any new blood will be welcomed like family.
It’s no surprise that this years roster of communities hails from some of the most economically depressed cities in the country, places like Rochester – NY, Milwaukee – WI, Southfield – MI, Harrisburg -PA and Binghamton – NY, but with the promise of fresh air, real live trees and the warmth seldom felt in larger towns without unemployment rates in the double digits – many of the folks attending the fair on March 27th may in fact move to a place like Bangor Maine.
Some of these communities are so desperate to get new members, that they are offering all sorts of free stuff. Jacksonville is offering a free shul membership and A year’s worth of free tuition at Torah Academy of Jacksonville for all your children ages 3 years old through 8th grade. (70% off first year; 30% off second year) – that actually sounds kind of good – if it weren’t for the fact that you’d have to live in Jacksonville. Overland Park Kansas (not even the cool part of Kansas) is offering what seems like a life support plea – free tuition, free JCC membership and a slew of other things to convince to move to Kansas City – although if you’re in the family meth business, I hear it’s a very good economy.