By Yosef Zvi Rantz
I thought I was living the Jewish dream. A good job, a friendly community, a nice home, and a compatible Northeast Modern Orthodox shul. My wife and I have been blessed with 3 beautiful and intelligent children. Our dream is to provide them with a good comprehensive Jewish education that teaches them morality, Jewish values, and a love of learning both Judaic and Secular.
As we embarked to provide them with the type of education we desired, we found it to be a struggle to do so while maintaining residency in our small town in New Jersey. High taxes, cost of living, and Yeshiva tuition challenged the quality of our standard of living.
At that point I decided to take action and attended the OU communities fair to find an affordable Modern Orthodox community that checked all the boxes of low taxes, affordable housing, a sustainable Jewish Education model, and access to good jobs.
I selected 8 communities, which was reduced to 4 when I discovered that while several of the cities were more affordable, the Jewish housing was not. So, I set about on my job search. In this day and age, it is rare to stay with the same company for 30 years. I needed a community that checked all the boxes and had a healthy economy to allow for career growth. My field is engineering so having high tech and industry is key. I set up automatic emails from Indeed.com with the needed keyword searches for my career and carefully reviewed the results. What I found was surprising, Cincinnati Ohio consistently had more results in a wider range of industries then any other of the cities I was considering.
I eventually found a job match and was flown in for an interview. What really surprised me was the values openly shared with me in my interview. Family is more important then work. We work hard as a means to have a good life. Always consider the community when making decisions. This was a departure from the Northeast value system where work is king and you should feel lucky to be employed. I accepted the job offer which included a full relocation package. I could tell the company was appreciative to have me on board. What I have since learned is that due to the low unemployment in Cincinnati, it is hard to attract talent locally.
While I was excited about the job and the community, my family couldn’t move with me until we sold our home in New Jersey. The next 3 months I lived in a temporary apartment. The Modern Orthodox community welcomed me into their lives. One family let me stay with them every Shabbat. And various families invited me for meals. They were always friendly and were excited to know when the rest of my family would be joining.
Finally our home sold and the next challenge was deciding where to send our children for schooling. With the voucher program in Ohio we were able to pick from any of the 3 Jewish schools which was not a luxury we enjoyed in New Jersey. We actually ended up sending our children to 2 of the schools which have been a positive experience for our family.
After we found a home, we were even able to afford renovations and plan for family vacations! I have continued to be appreciated at work. The community has lost none of its friendliness. And we have even discovered all the culture, arts, science, and beer that makes Cincinnati unique.