Memphis Jews Offer Incentives to Attract ‘100 New Families’


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — “Memphis is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered,” says one visitor and prospective transplant. Confident that an increasing number of young Jewish families will come to the same realization, the local Orthodox Jewish community is planning its second “Taste of Jewish Memphis” weekend at the end of May, where dozens of families from around the country can learn about and enjoy the attractive lifestyle package that the city has to offer. In addition, local leaders are offering tangible incentives to ease the costs of both the scouting trip and the housing transition.

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Announced less than a year ago, the organizers are closing in on their goal of “one hundred new families” joining the Memphiscommunity. Across the country, for many young Jewish families faced with an uncertain economy plus skyrocketing costs of housing and education, the local “value proposition” makes a great deal of sense: Memphis is a viable way to escape the onerous costs of suburban living while remaining in an environment that is family-friendly.

For these young families, Memphis offers:

  • First Class Jewish Infrastructure: Featuring a superb Orthodox Day school, the Memphis Jewish Community Center (including a pre-school), four Orthodox synagogues with dynamic rabbis, wide availability of kosher food.
  • Superior Lifestyle: A friendly atmosphere and a less frenetic urban pace translates into shorter commutes, smoother human interactions – and an opportunity to enjoy Jewish life to its fullest. Housing is attractive and gracious – costing less than half of other Jewish metro areas.
  • Economic Advantages and Opportunities: Tethered to a low cost of living are a solid range of jobs and careers in growing fields. In particular, Memphis is known for healthcare, logistics and software. With no city or state income tax, young families making the move learn that in Memphis, they can do more than “survive” economically – they can actually build a stable financial foundation.
  • A Great Place for Kids to Grow Up: Parents find that the environment is a throwback to the idealized neighborhoods of fifty years ago. For example, Rachel and Dr. Joel Siegel moved to Memphis ten years ago from Manhattan and now have four children. “We love all of the child-friendly places to go in Memphis,” Rachel says. “The JCC is our favorite destination and our home away from home. Our children play on numerous sports teams, spend hours at its amazing water park, hang out with friends, paint in the art room, watch performances in the theater and attend numerous other programs.” Joel adds that “besides the JCC, we also enjoy the Memphis Zoo, the new biking trail, and the FedEx Forum for events such as Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Grizzlies basketball games.”

For prospective transplants, some of the most profound selling points are the personal stories of families much like their own who have recently made the move.

“It is the rare city where one can experience both small-town perks and an exceptional Jewish community, complete with choices of schools, synagogues and activities,” says Dr. Lindi Vanderwalde, who, with her husband Ari, moved their four children here just a year and a half ago from Los Angeles. Both physicians, they see a wide range of excellent career opportunities, in particular within the area’s healthcare sector. But, beyond the attractive facts and figures, their opinions are a reflection of the benefits of the Memphislifestyle.

“The pace of life is slower and easier and it is much more family friendly, and our children are thriving here,” Lindi adds. “People are nice and accommodating, and generally care about each other. Protecting family time is a cultural value in the city — work ends comparatively early for even the busiest professionals.”

Rachel and Steven Schwartzberg moved to Memphis four years ago from Washington Heights (NY), and were overwhelmed by the support and hospitality they received from their new friends. Rachel, a writer at the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is pleased with their decision.

“This is certainly not the experience of most of our friends who moved to communities in Long Island or New Jersey. An added plus for Memphis is that the winters are relatively mild and our commutes are less than a half-hour by car.”

Steven, who is in Marketing at FedEx, notes that the timing of their move was just right: “We were ready to leave New York… we were done with the high costs of living, of never having the time or money to take advantage of all that city had to offer. Also, we noticed that Shabbos meal discussions among our friends and neighbors increasingly revolved around when people would be moving away and where they would go.”

Looking forward, Memphis anticipates welcoming its next group of eager transplants. At the upcoming weekend, visitors will enjoy full Southern home hospitality including a communal Shabbat dinner and then a Shabbat lunch with host families. They will have multiple opportunities to interact with local Orthodox families and speak with employment and real estate experts.

In addition to offering flight subsidies for any family visiting the community for a weekend, the organizers are also offering a generous community-wide incentive package, including substantial tuition breaks at select schools for the first two years. New Memphians also receive a free year of membership at any of the Orthodox synagogues and three free months of membership at the JCC.  For the next ten Jewish families who move to Memphis, the community will also offer $500 in relocation costs.

“A Taste of Jewish Memphis” – May 29-31 presented by the Orthodox Jewish Community of Memphis TN.

Full information is available at 901-219-9794 or


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