When our girls were young, my husband and I moved several times – from Pennsylvania to Indiana to New Jersey to North Carolina. So when I discovered Rachel Teichman’s website, I thought it could be a huge help to many of you who are relocating.
Thanks to Rachel Teichman, founder of www. oogiah.com, for this week’s post. OOGIAH means “cookie” in Hebrew.
As the founder of OOGIAH, the resource for Jewish families who are moving and traveling in the US, I am always thinking of ways for families to integrate quickly into their new communities. And as someone who has moved a lot, I have personal experience as well!
Six tips for connecting to a new Jewish community
1. Do not wait until you have moved to get the conversation going. Ask friends where you currently live if they know people in the Jewish community you will be moving to. Look at your friends’ lists of friends on Facebook or other social media connections to see who they know where, and ask for an introduction. Set up dinners and play dates ahead of your move to feel at home quicker.
2. Start to look into synagogues, JCCs, preschools, day schools and Hebrew school before you move. If you will be making a house-hunting trip, make sure to stop in at a couple of temples or the JCC too, just to let them know you are moving soon. You can find resources on the OOGIAH cities page or you can look on the Jewish Federation site.
3. Once you have a new permanent address, sign up for PJ Library. You have to sign up again each time you move to a new city. It is a great way to start to feel at home as the free books arrive in the mail.
4. Find playgroups for Jewish kids through JCCs, synagogues, and the local PJ Library group.
5. Seek out Jewish culture. Look up when the film and book festivals will be happening There may also be Jewish education fairs or events revolving around Jewish foods or holidays. You can consult the calendar on OOGIAH to see which holidays are coming up soon.
6. Check out these customs and prayers affiliated with moving to a new home. You can buy bread from a new bakery, and salt from your neighborhood grocery store. And you can find an online or retail Judaica shop if you need a new mezuzah for your home.