Stony Brook an Emerging Jewish Community


stony-brookRabbi Moshe Roffman is from Miami and has lived in San Antonio and Boston. But he says he’ll take Stony Brook over them any day, and thinks other Orthodox Jews should think about moving there, too. “It’s very scenic,” said Rabbi Roffman, adding that it has three kosher restaurants and job opportunities as well, with Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory nearby. Rabbi Roffman will be making his pitch at a fair today in Manhattan. The “Emerging Jewish Communities” event is aimed at spreading the word about desirable places to live for metropolitan area Jews who may be fed up with high housing costs and congestion.The fair will bring in representatives from about 20 communities around the country including Albany, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla., and St. Louis. Stony Brook is the only Long Island community that will be featured at the fair at Lander College for Women at 227 West 60th St. from noon to 5 p.m.

Things to do this weekend Event organizer Stephen J. Savitsky of Hewlett said Stony Brook made the cut because it offers jobs, relatively affordable housing and a receptive Orthodox Jewish community.

“We feel there is a lot of vitality in small Jewish communities where everyone counts and everyone is an individual and people feel they belong,” said Savitsky, president of the Orthodox Union umbrella group of 1,000 Orthodox synagogues in North America. “I think it is the first time people are going to take a serious look at the Stony Brook Jewish community.”

It isn’t a big Orthodox community. Roffman said his Stony Brook Hebrew Congregation has about 30 families. But it’s ready to grow. He plans to bring photos, pamphlets and a few local leaders to the event to show off Stony Brook’s finer points.

Savitsky said about 1,000 people attended the fair’s debut last year. He estimates two dozen couples ended up moving to communities, including Memphis, Tenn., Denver and Houston.

He noted that while any moves are unlikely to “put a dent” in the Orthodox Jewish community of several hundred thousand in the metropolitan area, adding just five couples to a place like Stony Brook could have an impact there.

In New York City “everything is crowded. Getting to a place is a chore,” he said. Stony Brook “would be an interesting alternative.”

{Newsday/ Newscenter}