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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:42 AM
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I am interested in relocating with my wife and daughter to Cary. Alternatively, we are considering Charlotte. I am very interested in knowing if there is much of a Jewish community in Cary or Raleigh. Ideally, if we have more children, we'd like to send them to a Jewish preschool, and Sunday school, Hebrew school, will be important to us later.

We are coming from Pittsburgh, and there is a nice reformed synogue in the town that adjoins where we live. It has been an excellent preschool situation for our daughter.

Some issues we have read about are cases of intolerance against Jews in the area. I'm not sure if this is an issue or not, but I'd like some opinions.

On top of being Jewish, our daughter who is 5 is adopted from China and we were wondering if there are many Asians in the area as well.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:46 AM
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Raleigh is diverse and has a Jewish community including synagogues from reformed to Lubavitch.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:01 AM
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There are several synagogues in the Triangle area - Raleigh, Durham as well as Cary. There is also a JCC in North Raleigh. I would recommend doing a google search to see what each has to offer. There are also similar threads on this forum you could search as well. From what I've learned since my arrival a few weeks ago, there are many Jewish families in the North Hills section of North Raleigh. As far as # of Asian families, there are many! The proximity to RTP has drawn people from all over.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:16 AM
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We have a few Jewish Families in our neighborhood in Cary about 10 families out of 239 homes. North Hills Raleigh might be a good place to start though if you are looking for a large Jewish Community.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:24 AM
Location: Ellicott City MD
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There is a good FAQ for newcomers here: Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh North Carolina

As other posters have stated, the Triangle is very diverse.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:27 AM
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While there is plenty of diversity here, I would respectfully suggest that if your current living situation is in an area that you would describe as "predominantly" Jewish you may not find what you are looking for in Cary.
I have lived in two larger Cary neighborhoods with a total of over 900 homes between them, and I can count less than 10 Jewish families in both neighborhoods combined. We have a VERY close friend from our old neighborhood who is Jewish and likes the area very much, but she freely admits to struggling a bit with having far fewer Jewish friends than she did before relocating (From the Hartford, CT area.
I wouldn't describe Cary as intolerant AT ALL, but most NC natives are simply unfamiliar with Jewish culture. Many families who relocated here are used to living in diverse areas, and it is a GREAT place to live, but if your family really identifies with their Jewish heritage, I can't say you will find a high level of comfort here.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:43 AM
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I am Jewish, but live in Durham. I would say that if you are looking for a Jewish community in the Triangle, it is here to be found, but you'll have to actively pursue and cultivate it through membership in a temple and through organized activities (which it sounds like you're interested in anyway).

As opposed to areas with larger Jewish communities where just by being in school, recreational activities, etc, you'll meet other Jewish families, that's not likely to happen as often here. My daughter is one of 2 Jewish kids out of a preschool of 60. We have a few Jewish friends, but feel that we'll need to join a temple soon and get her into Sunday School to get her more familiar with the Jewish faith. Luckily there are several Temples close by to choose from.

There are a few other differences from my growing up in the North with more of a Jewish presence- the Crossroad's Ford Easter and Christmas commercials always knock me off the sofa when I see them, as they just seem odd to me. Oh, and I had to ask 5 clerks at Food Lion where the Matzoh was before someone knew what I was looking for. I work at Duke, though, which has Jews everywhere, so I actually know quite a few here.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:44 AM
Location: Cary, NC
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As to your second question, Cary has a very sizable Asian or Asian American population (I would guess offhand more than many of the surrounding communities and probably more than Charlotte). You could certainly look at the school data to get an idea. That would not be an issue at all IMHO.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:49 AM
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asians in NC are the fastest growing population. This area does not have a high Jewish population and I would suggest Charlotte might be a better fit.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:55 AM
Location: Containment Area for Relocated Yankees
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I am Jewish, I live in Cary and have also lived in various parts of the country, ranging from places with a high knowledge of the Jewish religion (NYC and burbs) to almost no knowledge (Utah). I'd say that Cary is somewhere in between. There are few enough Jews that when you meet another one, you'll feel that bond because you're both in such a minority group. But there are enough transplants from other areas of the country, that (for the most part), they are at least familiar enough with the religion to realize that you don't celebrate Christmas, but you do celebrate Thanksgiving (a question I've received before).

However, there is a definite Christian-centric attitude down here. It's not threatening in any way, but it will cause you to feel left out at times and bewildered somewhat. For instance, the before and after school programs at most of the public elementary schools in my area are run by the YMCA. These are programs IN the school. A good friend (who is Jewish) has her 5 year old (kindergarten) daughter in the after school program. When she would pick up her daughter after school, her daughter would talk about how many Skittles she would get in circle time compared to her brother (who was in 1st grade). My friend investigated a bit and found out that in circle time, they go around and talk about what they're thankful for in their life. Well, apparently my friend's daughter figured out that if she said that she was thankful for "Jesus Christ our lord and savior", she got more Skittles. She had no idea what it meant, but she wanted Skittles. And the counselors didn't see anything wrong with that. My guess is that there will be posters here who won't see anything wrong with it either.

So all in all, it's one of those things you have to decide whether you can deal with or not. You'll feel like you're on the defensive quite a bit. But I doubt Charlotte is any better. I lived in Atlanta, and it was about the same. It's pretty much that way once you get out of the Northeast, Chicago, LA or Miami.

Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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