Where Are All the ‘Singles’ Communities?

I know about Washington Heights and the infamous *hushed voice* Upper West Side.  I’ve heard there’s even spillover into northern NJ. And there’s Baltimore. But is that it? Two metropolitan locations on the Eastern seaboard are the sum total of options for orthodox single people to live after they’ve grown out of their parents’ house? It seems kind of limiting.

Does anyone know of any that I’m missing?

If not, how about colonization? If we can get about 30 singles to seed a nice location, and then make a big to-do in all the newspapers and publications of a digital and print sort, I’m sure other people would follow.

There are distinct benefits to living out of town. The cost of living index for NYC averages about 200. (100 is average for the country.) The cost of living index for South Bend, Indiana is 98. For Portland, Oregon, 109. Indianapolis, 88. Milwaukee, 101. Moreover, all of these places are less crowded. Some are even downright pretty. The less urban may have fewer cultural opportunities, but they make up for that with greater access to sporting activities. (Imagine not having to drive two hours to find a hiking trail!) And did you know that a few years ago Waterbury, CT was rated among the best places to live?

Some of those places could use a yeshiva, ’tis true. If the guys are in Lakewood, it’s a bit of a trek for them to meet you in Denver. Which is why I think that all those Lakewood kollelim that are scattered about the country should also include a junior division. Yeshiva guys should be encouraged to learn in out of town communities. Even just temporarily.

Yes… I like that, actually. Temporarily. They can come, learn and date, and then leave. They’ll get to meet the local single populace, and as an extra bonus, experience life outside the tri-state area.

So, how do we start?

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38 thoughts on “Where Are All the ‘Singles’ Communities?

  1. You missed a few: Chicago (Lakeview = MO, W Rodgers = Charedi), LA (Pico = MO w/ some Charedi, Fairfax = Charedi), and Boston (Cambridge = MO, Brighton/Brookline = Centrist shading into Charedi), all of which are better in my experience than Baltimore. There’s also DC (moderns) and Silver Spring (mix), Philadelphia (around Penn ages 18-26 college/grad students mixture of all kinds of Orthodox, MO in Center City, maybe others elsewhere?). Not many singles in Seattle, but apparently there’s a woman shortage; the few frum guys there are in software.

  2. Plenty of Seattle single younger males but they are mostly in NY right now, looking for shidduchim and then planning on heading back to Seattle to live.

    Just keep in mind that if you establish a singles community out of town and should happen to meet a man there you’d better be prepared to continue living oot after marriage. A whole lot of those out of towners who wouldn’t live in the NY region, not for love or money.

  3. I love your idea. Not only does it make dating easier for out-of-towners, it also provides some polish and breadth of experience to the guys, who often have never been anywhere other than NY and EY, probably not past the beis medrash. Whereas if you’re in Denver, you may actually go see the Rockies during bein hazemanim, instead of vegging out on your parents’ couch the whole time.

  4. I thought you guys are supposed to live at home until you’re married, and if not … well, there might be something wrong.

  5. Could you make it somewhere in the south? atlanta, memphis, or in the carolina’s somewhere. cause i’m in then. but seriously, people stay in new york area because of the dating opportunities and stay when their career takes off. once that happens its harder to pick yourself up and move back to wherever you came from whether its from out west, the south, north or wherever.

  6. At the risk of setting myself up for a lynching {already ducking from tesya), dare I be the one to stand up first and say that I’m not quite sure what this all fired rush is for a young single (I realize that everything has its limits) to move out of the parental home?
    Don’t tell me it’s about independence. I live amidst these single communities. The “on their own” singles are living a lifestyle that I daresay is no more independent than those singles who choose to stay at home.
    I think that single who choose to stay near their families (whether in the same dwelling or in the same neighborhood) have an easier time with shidduchim, and I DON’T THINK that this can be attributed to the stigma of moving out but rather the benefits of familial support and not needing to “go it alone”.
    Keep in mind as well, as another commenter pointed out, that your goal should NOT be to create a SINGLES community. Any *effective* singles community (which I assume is what most singles are looking for) would quickly become a ‘couples community’.
    Stop looking for something that will only hold you back from your goals.

  7. G6- It’s not about independence, it’s about socializing and being part of a community. It is hard for singles to live in a community where there are not very many other singles, simply because they are in a different stage of life and have different interests. Couples who have children talk about children and schools etc. while those conversations are not applicable to singles. It’s like a young couple with a few young children moving into a seniors community for people ages 55 and up. Because they are in different stages of life it will be difficult. While most of the community has conversations about retirement and their grandkids, the young couple with children is busy thinking about diapers and summer camp.

    And you’re right, effective singles communities become couples communties. Take Washington Heights, for example. There are many young couples there and Baruch Hashem the numbers are increasing, although once the couple has children they tend to start moving away to other communities.

    It is not my impression that those living with their parents have an easier time with shidduchim. Just because you don’t live with your parents doesn’t mean you don’t have their support.

  8. SternGrad –
    While I can certainly understand the needs of singles to socialize with those sharing common interests, what I fail to understand it the position that one needs to utterly segregate oneself from others who might be able to make small, albeit different, contributions to the enrichment of their lives in order to achieve said socialization. It is terribly limiting.
    And frankly, if you look at the marriage rate of singles in the Heights and juxtapose it with the numbers of singles there looking to get married, I’d hardly call the statistics successful…..

  9. For the record, each of those places (Milwaukee, South Bend, Indianapolis, Denver, and of course Waterbury), with the exception of Portland (to the best of my knowledge), each have a Yeshiva! Who’da thunk it??!

  10. South Bend isn’t bad, but you’ll be commuting to Chicago for any sort of Shidduch scene.

  11. G6- I agree with you that the marriage rate in the Heights is very far from ideal. Those who live in singles community do not have a higher chance of getting married sooner than those who live with their parents.
    I actually agree with you that segregation is not a good thing, going back to Bad4 suggestion I think it would be best if the new singles community could be created in a place where there is already an existing community. Singles shouldn’t start a colony for just singles and no couples at all, but at the same time it’s hard to live in a place where there are very few other singles. What we need is an existing community where singles don’t feel like outcasts and where there is a a significant singles population.

  12. Toronto has 3 single communities.

    1. Spadina Village (Forest Hill Jewish Centre/Starbucks Shul) (most popular singles community)

    2. Down South (Village Shul Eglinton Area & meadowbrook/fraiserwood).

    3. Thornhill (while the area is very large and comprises of many families…. there are an excessive abundant of singles living in the area).

  13. That’s why I’m here! In chabad there are many families who are on shlichus in far flung places with very few, if any, other religious families in the vicinity. This has created a very similar scenario to the ideas mentioned in comments. Most chabad guys and girls move to Crown Heights sooner, or later in their search for their better half. Besides for centralizing the shidduch/dating scene, it also means there is a bigger pool of companions of one’s own gender to socialise with.

  14. Shuttle – it has to be a beis medrash – where the grown up guys go.

    G6 – the way I see it is like this: At some point, you will have to move out. Either because you’ve got a career to launch or because you’re thoroughly sick of living at home. This may be hard for you to understand, but when you’re living at home you’re never really grown up – you will always be your parents’ kid, and it can be stifling. At any rate, I was thinking in terms of job opportunities: there are many places you can get a job, but if you go live there you sacrifice your chance at marriage because there are no singles around. Thus, the need for more communities in farther places.

    Shlomo – which part of this is desperate?

  15. G6- please tell me exactly how my lifestyle is “no more independent than those singles who choose to stay at home”. i don’t know where to begin thinking of what you even mean by that, or where you would obtain such misinformation. i was home while financially independent (besides room, board and laundry), and there’s no comparison. having grown up in easy commuting distance of school and work, i moved out only because i knew i’d never see my friends (some of whom are the offspring of my father’s UWS roommates!) if i didn’t. as bad4 suggested, at home, you’re a kid no matter how old you are. away from home, you’re a private citizen. i’ve heard my shul called a “hillel with no adult supervision”, which can be very accurate at times (i’d also call it lord of the flies), but both of those epithets imply the opposite of what you said. you tell me where else a twentysomething can be a shul board member, or even a vice president. and, thankfully not having been raised charedi, our parents don’t typically take the lead position in our dating lives regardless of under whose roof we sleep at night, leaving the odds of getting married either equal or biased slightly towards where particles can collide with each other. the marriage rate is higher than you think- again, i’m not familiar with your data-sampling procedure, but it sounds off. the one thing i will concede is that i am baffled by the lack of financial independence of so many people my age, but that’s for a different rant, and i think many parents are to blame for it.

  16. G6, I back you up.

    Some people who I meet up with are all “You STILL live at home????” while others are “DON’T GO!!!!!”

    I’m happy enough at home for the moment. Not EVERYONE feels stifled and gets sick of home life, thank you very much. Just because I live at home does not mean I’m a Momma’s Girl (it’s rent free, for the fiscally aware). I’m the last one in the house and my siblings live close by. Some prefer the company of family to that of friends who’ll disappear once they marry (not all couples stay in the Heights).

    My premise is, if I live at home, there’s no need to automatically assume that I’m unexposed, babied, and unwilling to be “independent.” Independent is a state of mind, separate from one’s living surroundings.

    At this point in time, I’m building up my “buy a house” fund, without spending it on all the living expenses (thanks Ta).

  17. Good for you Princess Lea –
    I wanted to point out the fiscal responsibility of staying at home as opposed to the “independence” of having Mommy and Daddy send your rent check every month, but knew that those that do pay their own rent (and yes there are many) would be offended.
    I don’t view those who choose to say at home as “Momma’s babies”, I see them as fiscally smart individuals who value and have a good relationship with their family.

  18. yo, why judge? why base your opinion entirely on one subset? and why assume that those people are in the majority?? and, if the parents are willing, why blame the kids? that was the rant i wasn’t going into- our parents may have raised us in relative affluence, but it’s to our detriment that they paid for college and let us major in art history, so we end up working as overeducated secretaries. i have friends who never seem to have gotten the memo that it takes income to be solvent, which in turn is a prerequisite for raising a family and maintaining a standard of living. oh, and PS, look no farther than the kollel wives who are convinced that they can be “mistapek bemuat”(sic) but have no clue that “muat” really means no shoes or chicken on shabbos, because someone’s willing to underwrite that for them. or is that good because it’s “sacrificing for torah”? it amazes me that some of that infiltrated the “kehilloh” as well when i think of the values on which it was established.

    all that aside, when i was home, saving money, and transitioning to total financial independence, i bought a car. then i got a real job and paid rent on part of an apartment. i seek advice from my parents on “grownup stuff” often, but i have my own insurance and investment portfolio, and more liquid assets than all my credit lines combined. no one paid for my education past israel. i run a household very similar to theirs in terms of spending philosophy. when my car broke down, they only found out about it after i’d had it fixed. i’m active in the community and a dues-paying member of a shul. and i learned it all from them. my parents encouraged my moving out (not pushing, but fully supporting and emphatically defending it to any naysayers), as they think someone my age ought to be independent. you’re telling me i should wait to attain all this only once i get married, and learn all these skills in a just-in-time fashion?? that’s absurd! here’s another story- my younger brother wanted to get married while they both still had a full year of college left. my parents said okay, but that no one was supporting them. my parents tore their hair out over the rush to teach him decent life skills (health insurance? how does that work?) that he didn’t even realize he needed to learn. look me in the eye and tell me that’s wiser than a natural learning process. saving money when you have no expenses isn’t particularly smart, it’s just the default setting. it’s managing money and life effectively that’s smart. and lastly, by my rough calculations and conservative estimates, my daily living expenses (room and board, the only things i wouldn’t be paying for at home) cost me under two hours’ take home (that’s after taxes, benefits, and 401(k)) pay.

    in summary, i’m not just “offended”. i’m borderline fuming at your dismissal of the life i work hard to build and maintain. like so many people, you’re saying my accomplishments are worthless because i’m single, and i can’t respect that or even lend it credence. why do i even bother? even worse, i don’t really relish the idea of dating people who make a third of my salary, and the feeling is mutual. i don’t need a husband to take care of, thanks. being independent, responsible, and mature isn’t really that difficult. but that’s a different post.

    one last thing- there’s nothing wrong with living at home per se, but it can be a really easy place to hide from developing a decent set of interpersonal skills. i say this purely from observation. it’s exactly analogous to nursery school or daycare vs. staying home.

  19. Well, at least each of those communities have the groundwork for extending their age range and setting up a Beis Medrash program. And Milwaukee has one already. (Though you might contend it doesn’t go quite old enough.)

    You’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone to go though – the overwhelming majority of Yeshiva-bound EY returnees go to Lakewood, (unless they live in NY and go somewhere local, like Chaim Berlin, say), and that phenomena is virtually impossible to change, despite their being lots (and lots)of compelling reasons from a variety of angles, for greater diversity in Yeshiva options at that stage in a Yeshiva Bochur’s life. ::end rant::

  20. GP, I’m not exactly sure if anyone said your lifestyle is pointless if you’re single. But keep in mind many things you, specifically you do – is not a given for those who are married and supporting themselves. Not everyone is portfolio savvy.

    Just because I live at home does not mean I don’t know what it takes to run a household, or what reality is. When my brother got engaged, his wife wanted to spend the year in Israel (her parents would provide). My father said, “Sure, after you finish law school.” Needless to say, my sister-in-law was grateful to my parents, and they never went to live in Israel.

    My position wasn’t “Don’t leave home.” Mine was “If you do, don’t box me accordingly.” Acquaintance with reality is based upon upbringing as well as experience.

  21. I was trying to stay out of this, but I have to comment.

    GP – Yasher Koach on being so financially intelligent. That is a skill many people don’t have, married or no. HOWEVER, you were obviously not raised in a yeshivish home, where they try to marry their kids off as soon as possible. Yes, it’s a flawed system, but no yeshivish parent on Earth is going to let their kid languish, single, at 23+ because they want them to be able to support themselves completely. Especially if both are still in college. Especially in this economy.

    Not saying that many singles and young marrieds cannot support themselves – many do. But being able to support yourself CANNOT be a requirement when you are pushing girls to get married at 19. It simply won’t happen.

    And I’m not even talking about kollel families. If you have two kids in school, or one in school and one working but not making much because he’s just out of college…….it’s hard to make ends meet. And I am NOT talking about families where they can’t afford to support them at all – in that case, sometimes the girls DO wait. And it’s NOT ideal. Those are girls who have issues in shidduchim, because for better or for worse, if you come from a family with little money and have no skills or good job of your own because you went to Touro Flatbush for Psychology or didn’t go to real college at all, that is a problem. Especially if you want a learning guy.

    Weather or not they should be pushing at all is an entirely different matter, but that is the system right now.

  22. BH i was not raised yeshivish, but was close enough to see it from the inside to be able to say that. i’m well aware of what you’re saying, and my reply would be that the whole system is flawed (read: in a “shidduch crisis” of a similar order of magnitude to the MO world, so obviously something’s not working anymore. oh, and the kollel offspring haven’t yet grown up from their wanting childhoods and gotten jobs in defiance). obviously nothing i said applies too well in that world, to its detriment, but whatever. there’s nothing most people can do about it. remind me a again why someone with little money would send a kid to touro (or anywhere with tuition) and allow them to major in psychology or that a learning guy is the road to take? peer pressure?

    princess lea- i’m not casting aspersions on your- or anyone’s- decisions. i left home much later than all my friends, and was always “the one who still lives at home”. and i should have not left a moment sooner (i’m going to guess that i’m a couple of years older than you). the point of my (very verbose) post was that no one should judge, because excellent arguments exist for both sides, and neither decision is objectively better. yeyasher kochech on your choices, and i’m glad you think they’re the best ones. that’s all anyone should think of his/her own choices.

  23. Peer pressure with a helpful does of unchecked school induced brainwashing. Thank God my parents deprogrammed me every day when I got home from school, and I chose not to go to seminary. My family’s mesorah, along with nisuch sefard and not brocking on Peseach, is that men work, and women have the choice (to either stay at home with the kiddies and/or work). I plan to keep that lifestyle going, and not reinvent the world.

  24. same. go chassidim. my grandfather grumbles all the time how shuls used to be full of people learning after a full day’s work.

  25. if you daven sefard and don’t eat gebrokts (how about eating in the sukkah on shemini atzeres?), i’m gonna guess your family isn’t originally from the environs of lithuania or frankfurt.

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