When Rabbi Joshua Strulowitz packs his bags for the upcoming Emerging Communities Fair in New York City, he’s leaving plenty of space for that other — not to mention certified kosher — San Francisco treat: Ghirardelli chocolates.
“Giving away free food is always effective,” says Strulowitz, who leads Adath Israel, an Orthodox congregation in San Francisco. “Although, a few kids would come by and try to grab the candy last year, so I had to be the candy police.”
While that may be Strulowitz’s unofficial title, he will be the official representative of San Francisco’s Orthodox community at the Orthodox Union’s Emerging Communities Job and Home Relocation Fair on June 14.
Residents from the New York metropolitan area are expected to flock to this event with the intent of exploring a possible relocation to several cities across the United States. San Francisco is one of 22 locale exhibits, along with cities such as Denver, St. Louis, New Orleans and Houston.
Cities are selected based on job opportunities, affordable housing and close-knit communities, in addition to the availability of synagogues, day schools, kosher restaurants and other Jewish resources.
Strulowitz plans to highlight San Francisco’s best attributes for living a Modern Orthodox lifestyle, while answering the tough questions.
“Everyone wants to know where the jobs are,” Strulowitz says. “It’s hard because I can’t promise any particular job. It’s more about the prevalent industries in the area. If someone is interested in the high-tech industry, the financial world, the legal profession or UCSF, I’m happy to make connections.”
As for affordable housing, “I try to avoid that question by telling them how beautiful San Francisco is,” Strulowitz jokes. “Every community has its selling points — ours is job opportunities, a high quality of life and a nice Jewish community … with great rabbis.”
Still, San Francisco is full of housing options, Strulowitz explains. You might not get as big a place as you would elsewhere in the country, but you’ll find something, he says.
“There are certain cities people could move to before [finding] a job,” he admits. But “if people find a good job, they’re happy to move to San Francisco.”
Strulowitz, who grew up in Miami, moved to San Francisco four years ago to take the rabbinical position at Adath Israel. He finds the Orthodox community here to be filled with people who are “nice, warm and sincere, with an interest in growing and learning.”
That, he says, is quite possibly the city’s best quality.
“San Francisco is a viable option for people who are predominantly Modern Orthodox,” he says. “My goal, more than anything, is to promote that.”
For more information about the Orthodox Union’s Emerging Communities Job and Home Relocation Fair, visit www.ou.org/ocn/community.