Little town in Alabama watches its Jewish population dwindle, age and die out. Oy, what to do?


Hey, let’s offer Jews $50,000 to move here.

That’s right young couples, move to Alabama for a few years and $50k can be yours. Is it worth it? Your trusted Jewlicious servant has checked out this offer for you.

Location? Deep in the Bible Belt, you will be surrounded by many Christian neighbors. Another way of looking at it, however, is that in Dothan with its population of 140,000, you might have 137,000 Christian neighbors but if you lived, say, in Boston, you’d have several times more Christian neighbors, not to mention an abundance of Muslim, Buddhist and atheist neighbors. Also, if you look at Dothan on a map, you can have an ocean view.

Housing? You can get a 5 bedroom house on a large lot for $375k funded through lån på dagen. That’s not bad. Use Boston as a comparison again and you would easily pay two times as much, if not more for a smaller house on a smaller lot.

Jobs? Well, Careerbuilder shows 474 jobs within 30 miles of Dothan. Of those 46 are listed as “management.” Boston shows over 7000 jobs with over 1500 listed as “management.” I didn’t look carefully, but the Dothan job listings did not appear to include many accounting, legal, engineering or medical positions. There are some decent opportunities with Larry Blumberg and Associates, which seems to be owned by the family which is a key sponsor of the Jewish community foundation that has sponsored the $50k award.

Forbes, which only lists one billionaire from Alabama, counts Dothan as the 107th best small city in the country in terms of, well in terms of whatever Forbes thinks makes a small city “best.” They think it’s the third best small city in Alabama, although they rank Huntsville as 8th in the country. Huntsville is about 5 hours away from Dothan, so forget commuting. Also, Dothan ranks low in terms of educational attainment relative to its competitor cities, while it ranks high on the low cost of doing business.

Oh, and there is only one synagogue in Dothan. And one mosque. And three, possibly four, Italian restaurants. But no kosher ones.

The Dothan Jewish community has a tough task ahead of them. I wish them all the best in their recruiting efforts.

Here is their offer:

Family Relocation Project Summary
Grants Up to $50,000
We are eager to move at least twenty Jewish families to Dothan Alabama during the time period January 2008 to December 2012 by offering financial assistance up to $50,000 per family.

Guiding Principles
1.We seek Jewish families who intend to move to, and remain in, Dothan for at least five years.
2.We will carefully evaluate candidate families so that we bring to Dothan those who have the best opportunity for success.
3.Grants are available, for those who qualify, up to $50,000 in the following general categories (and maximum amounts):
â—¦Relocation – moving and resettling ($7,500)
â—¦Housing – primary residence ($7,500)
â—¦Temple Emanu-El membership ($1,000)
â—¦Repaying outstanding educational loans ($15,000)
â—¦Small business seed money ($15,000)
â—¦Children’s private secular K-12 education ($7,500)
â—¦Other outstanding financial obligations ($7,500)

Their contact information.

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  • Good luck to them, but I wouldn’t move there. I have a hard enough time being Jewish in Glasgow.

  • Middle, you house-hunting in Boston? If things look too expensive, you can sleep on my couch. For a couple of days.

    As long as prospective Jewish residents are bitter and cling to guns and religion, life in Dothan should be just fine.

  • But you know what Dothan has that say, Boston or God help us, New York, doesn’t have? Good old, all American small town values. That’s what. And $50k.

    I take my hat off to the Jews of Dothan for their initiative. How long will it take Chabad to open a Chabad House there and help create a truly sustainable Jewish community?

    Y’all wanna laugh at Dothan? Go ahead. But for many Jewish communities in the US, Dothan is merely a glimpse into the future…

    Not so funny now huh?

  • Nobody here is laughing at Dothan. I gave it a fair chance and I’ll wager that some people will find this opportunity compelling.

    Tom, I’m not moving to Boston unless somebody offers me $100k.

  • There are houses for sale on my street; no financial incentives though. All I can offer is the occasional cake.

  • Is everyReform temple named Emmanu-el? That’s the name of the shul…..sorry, temple that my mother went to in Birmingham, Ala. when she was a kid.

  • The $15K toward one’s educational loans, wow. And the $15K small business seed money is also very interesting. A young or youngish professional could appreciate all that, even if living in an apartment, or half of someone else’s house, if he or she didn’t have $375 for a big house. Somebody who telecommutes a lot, who just needs a modem, with occasional business travel. A WRITER. Maybe a software writer. A recipe guru. An internet personality.

    CK’s remark is spot on.

  • Dothan, did you say? Sounds rather Biblical. It’s the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Sold for 50g’s?
    If you want a “Dotan” sans mosque, try Mevo Dotan in the Shomron.

  • I wonder if the Rubaskins will take them up on it and move their meat processing plant there, if Chabad doesn’t beat them to it.

  • @Batya (#12): Yeh, No Mosques at the Shomron….take a good look – there are Mosques all around us, all over the @$&% world!

  • Here’s an update–

    The first family arrived this weekend. The story is
    on our local news websites. They are very welcome,
    and I hope they have a great time. There is only one
    religious test they face, they must back Auburn or

    (Yes, an old postmaster picked our name from the Bible.
    It’s the Area A city under Tell Dotan in the West Bank.


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