Thursday, May 17, 2007

Orthodox Jews Come to a Well-Worn City, Pleased to Find a Piece of Paradise

The 7-Eleven on Cooke Street in this central Connecticut city now offers kosher Slurpees. A deli offering Shabbat specialties like cholent and kishke sits on a blighted street where the police frequently block off vandalized homes. An abandoned synagogue that was nearly sold to a church about seven years ago is now a bustling yeshiva where 200 young men study the Talmud.

Just north of downtown in this struggling city of 107,000, the Hillside neighborhood is a mix of boarded-up windows and pristine views of the green and lakes of Fulton Park below. Lately, there have been rumors of a police sting operation for prostitution.

Increasingly, the streets are filled with men in skullcaps and dark suits and women in wigs and long skirts as about 100 Orthodox Jewish families, many from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, have moved in.

“We are building from scratch, from the very beginning we have to establish everything,” said Rabbi Avrohom Krohn, 35, who spent a decade in Jerusalem before moving here with his wife, Genendel, and four children three years ago. “Everyone has to take some responsibility.”

If anyone would have suggested a decade ago that this heavily Roman Catholic city whose best-known religious landmark is a large steel cross on a hill would become an Orthodox Jewish enclave, they would have been laughed out of shul.

Back then, there was little more than a shell of a Jewish community in Waterbury: the synagogue that was not sold to a church had dwindled to a handful of congregants. Now, plans are under way to build a second Orthodox synagogue among a new development of dozens of homes in the hills being marketed to Jewish families.

There is a ritual bath, a Jewish bookstore and cooperative exchanges for used appliances and furniture. There is a Waterbury branch of Hatzolah, a volunteer Jewish ambulance service, and a communal emergency locksmith.


Waterbury is a Chaim Berlin township.



chaim berliners are jews too.
why the need to fragment jews.
(no i m not a chaim berliner)


I am a Chaim Berliner :-)

I said it in a neutral (or perhaps complimentary) manner.


part of the succes of they're community comes from the fact that the houses are affordable unlike new york


Harav Gifter was the Rav in Waterbury for a number of years. Perhaps he planted the seeds for torah to grow in Waterbury


What's the job situation for yeshivish non- college educated men? Are there any people familiar and flexible enough with our ways (Shabbos and Yom Tov) to employ those that would need jobs?

If we can't get jobs there, in the long run, it won't last.


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