Oh, it’s a tempting offer. But it’s likely not open to you, unless you’ve got a Jewish mother.
A congregation in the self-proclaimed Peanut Capital of the World, also known as Dothan, Alabama, is so lacking in Jewbies they’re offering up to $50,000 to Jews who move there. And if you stay at least five years you don’t have to repay it.
$50,000. Fifty. Thousand. Sheckels.
To live in a town dotted with big fiberglass peanuts painted to resemble characters and people — including an Elvis peanut. A place where the politics are hard right in an area with a history of racism and anti-semitism as long as the sleeve of your hooded white cloak.
To live in a place that’s quiet and family-oriented, where we can afford a house and see the change of seasons.
A place that’s growing and changing.
A place that’s less than thirty miles from the best man in our wedding, who lives across the border in Florida but comes to Dothan to attend this same temple with his wife and four kids most weeks.
Oh, that’s a tempting offer. Fifty thousand could make a nice difference in our lives. A really nice difference.
I wonder if Husband’s non-Jew status would affect our eligibility. We are raising Son Jewish (Husband refuses to attend church, so that was a no-brainer), and even if Husband was Jewish he’d still not participate in the Men’s Club… And he is circumcised…
I’d finally have people to play Mah Jjong with!
But could Husband find a job? It’s Dothan, Alabama! Do they even have any advertising agencies?
Fifty thousand dollars!
Husband has been there. Says I wouldn’t like it.
$50,000 would really help me overlook some of Dothan’s negatives. Not all of them, but at least twelve. Of the medium-sized negatives. Or one big one.
I could put up with an awful lot for five years for $50,000.
I’m making a call to Dothan tomorrow. No harm in getting the details, is there?
September 10, 2008 at 1:59 am
You’re so cool to be open-minded enough to consider it.
I can’t wait to hear what you find out!
September 10, 2008 at 11:12 am
I happen to live in the area around Dothan. I just love all the characterizations in your post. It’s not QUITE like that, of course. Most of us are just a gentle bunch of southerners with jobs and children and mortgages like other folks in other towns. Sure, we have our share of “characters”. Who doesn’t? Having lived in large and small towns across the US, I have found local flavor in every place. We are no different. We are conservative (not radical), church oriented (there is a church on every corner), and we have the Peanut Festival every year (hence the Peanut figures). What is missing from your list is extraordinary racism and anti seminism. I wish I could say that racism didn’t exist in Dothan or anywhere else for that matter, but I know better. One doesn’t see any more in Dothan, however, than one sees elsewhere. We don’t know, or CARE what your religion is. Are you a nice person? Are you family oriented? Are you gentle and caring about your neighbor? Welcome to Dothan, friend. Let’s get together for lunch. You’re buying…
September 10, 2008 at 11:14 am
If you own your own online-based business, this is heaven for you. If you’re Jewish, that is. No worries about finding a job and all that – your job goes where you do.
That being said, I’m still running the 9 to 5, and definitely not Jewish. Ahh, to dream.
September 15, 2008 at 9:14 am
Is it just me, or is the prospect of living in a town dotted with big fibreglass peanuts and a peanut dressed as Elvis utterly, deliciously appealing?
I’m just jealous that I’m not eligible!
September 21, 2008 at 12:42 pm
Check the rankings of the public schools in Alabama. Unless the Temple has a school or you’re into home-schooling, think it over carefully….
On the other hand, 50 grand would send your kids through private school, if the tuition weren’t completely out of sight. Assuming you could find one that wasn’t too heavy on religion.
August 12, 2009 at 9:51 am
[…] That was such an epiphany for me, and as a result I pretty much pulled away from the temple, and practicing my religion. I became a part-time Jew – weddings, bar mitzvahs and the High Holy Days. I still believe in G-d, and still pray on occasion. I’ve often said that if I could find a temple with real people who just happened to be Jewish that I’d gladly join. I’ve never found that. Some friends say that has more to do with living where I live – that what I yearn for flourishes in places like Alabama and Utah, where Jews are much fewer and further between. Which is why I did consider Alabama… […]