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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