By Lindsay Frankel
Back in 2005, when my husband – a native Cincinnatian– and I started dating, one of the first things my Brooklyn-born father said was: “There are Jews in Cincinnati?” Fast forward 14 years, and not only are there Jews in Cincinnati, but my husband and I live here with our 3 children, along with many other Jewish families. In fact, Cincinnati is one of the oldest Jewish communities in America, dating back to 1817, and our Orthodox community here is strong and growing. There are three Orthodox shuls within easy walking distance, as well as numerous other Conservative and Reform congregations throughout the city as well.
When it comes to living an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, things here are easier than most people would initially think. Multiple grocery stores offer a plethora of kosher food options. For those who enjoy dining out, we have 4 kosher restaurants plus multiple ice cream shops and a kosher donut shop. We have 3 Jewish Day Schools to choose from, where the average tuition per child is under $10,000, and because of the location of our Orthodox community, most families receive state-funded tuition scholarships of $4,650 per child. Want to send your kids to overnight camp, or to study or travel in Israel, but the cost is just too much? Cincy Journeys – a project of our very generous Jewish Federation – helps every child attend overnight Jewish camp and every young adult travel and learn in Israel, giving them the skills, experience, and desire to become tomorrow’s community leaders. Per child, you can get up to $2,800 for camps, $6,500 for ages 16-18 towards travel to Israel, and $5,000 for ages 18-26 towards travel to Israel. Where else can you find a community so eager to help you provide for your children?
Another amazing and unique feature about the Cincinnati Jewish community is that it is more than just a community, it is like a family. Beyond that, our broader community is not segregated by observance level. Families from very diverse religious backgrounds, be it Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Chabad, Conservative, Reform, etc, all come together as one cohesive community. We work together for the benefit of all. We laugh together, we cry together, we celebrate together. Events happen on a regular basis that bridge the gaps and where we may otherwise have been divided, we are one. One example is the newly launched Cincinnati Vine, a project of the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division (YAD), that acts as a central interactive hub for young adults to connect to each other and the Cincinnati Jewish community. The launch party for the Vine was attended by hundreds of young adults, members of all congregations and all denominations.
Let’s talk about housing. When my family moved to Cincinnati from Brookline, MA, we actually made money. We purchased a 4 bedroom home on 1.6 acres for under $500,000. And while that was 8 years ago and prices are definitely fluctuating, it is still safe to say that an equivalent home in the Northeast would be double the list price. In addition to that, the median annual property tax in Amberley Village, where we live, is under $6,000. Most major businesses and medical centers are all within a reasonable commute, with most driving a maximum of 20 minutes each way for work.
The myth that Ohio is all corn fields and there’s nothing to do on the weekend is just that- a myth. For sports fans, we’ve got MLB, NFL and MLS teams. Tickets along the first baseline behind the dugout at a Reds game are under $100. Typical Yankee tickets in the same location? $300+! Our state of the art JCC also offers Youth and Adult baseball, soccer and basketball leagues, indoor floor hockey, and newly launched Mamanet for women (remember newcomb?) For the cultural and theater fans, The Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati offers a wide array of spectacular shows including Broadway favorites. Cincinnati’s 2018-2019 Broadway Season has included Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Aladdin, Cats and more! Our downtown is also host to the brand new Center for Holocaust and Humanity, as well as many art museums and a fantastic children’s museum. Outdoor enthusiasts– we’ve got you covered too. Amusement parks, bike trails, hiking trails, lakes, the Cincinnati Zoo and more are all a short distance away.
But don’t just take my word for it – come and see for yourself! Our friendly and welcoming community is eager to meet you*!