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Is there an Orthodox community in Stamford?


There certainly is!  In fact, there has been an Orthodox community in Stamford since the late 1800s. Senator Joseph Lieberman was born in Stamford, and celebrated his bar mitzvah here.  Hanoch Teller grew up here, and attended the Jewish day school in Stamford.  Today about 175 Shomer Shabbat families live in the community.


How many Orthodox shuls are there in Stamford?


Congregation Agudath Sholom is the oldest and largest Orthodox synagogue in Stamford.  It boasts more than 500 member families.  The synagogue is affiliated with the Orthodox Union, and has a full-time rabbi, educational director, and youth director.  There are two minyanim every Shabbat morning—the regular service is at 9AM and the hashkama minyan is at 8AM.  The Young Israel of Stamford has about 75 member families, and offers a full array of programs and activities as well.  Finally, the Stamford Chabad Center holds Shabbat services at its facilities, along with a range of programming, and Bais Binyomin is a Yeshiva Gedola (a branch of Lakewood) that holds services—and offers chavrusa learning during the week.


What about Jewish day schools? Are there any schools located in Stamford?


The Bi-Cultural Day School, which is more than 50 years old, has about 450 students from kindergarten through 8th grade and has been recognized for its academic excellence on numerous occasions.  It is a Torah u’Mesora school under Orthodox auspices. The school is famous for a unique program in which eighth graders spend a month in Israel before graduating.   Some Orthodox families send their children to a pluralistic day school, Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy, which is located in nearby Greenwich, CT.  After they complete eighth grade, a significant percentage of graduates from these day schools attend yeshiva high schools, such as MTA, Central, Manhattan School for Girls, Ramaz, SAR, Maayanot, and Westchester Hebrew High School—all of which are commutable from Stamford.


Is there a Jewish nursery school program in Stamford?


Chabad of Stamford runs Gan Yeladim, a nursery school program to which many Orthodox families send their children.  The Jewish Community Center has a nursery school program as well, and the Bi-Cultural Day School recently started a pre-K program.


How about Jewish summer camps?


Chabad of Stamford runs Gan Israel, a summer day camp program for children under 12.  Many of the older children in the Orthodox community attend various sleepaway camps.


Is there a mikveh?


Yes.  It’s located on the premises of Congregation Agudath Sholom.  Construction is currently under way for a brand new mikveh, which will be located immediately beside the current mikveh (which will continue to function as a mikveh for men).  The new mikveh will be completed in the fall of 2010.


What about an eruv?


The community recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Stamford eruv.  It encompasses a fairly large area, and would include virtually everyone who would want to live within walking distance to the shuls.  It is checked every week before Shabbat.


How about kosher food?


There is a kosher bakery in Stamford.  There is also a kosher dairy eatery, Sweet on You, located at the JCC, which is especially convenient for lunch and dinner for those folks whose children attend JCC programs.  A vegetarian Indian restaurant in Stamford recently received hashgacha as well. There are a few other establishments (ice cream stores, etc.) that are under hashgacha from the Va'ad of Fairfield County.  Stamford Kosher is a weekly service run by a member of the community, in which one can order kosher food online from a variety of kosher eateries in the Teaneck area and have the food in your home on Thursday night. Glatt Box makes monthly deliveries of chicken and meat to Stamford residents.  Stop and Shop and other local supermarkets are carrying an increasing number of kosher products, including kosher meat and chicken.  Fairway is opening a new store in Stamford in the fall of 2010, and plans to offer freshly cut meat under rabbinical supervision.  Many Orthodox families who keep kosher buy their meat from stores in New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Riverdale, Monsey, Lawrence, or Kew Gardens Hills, all of which are a relatively short drive from Stamford.


How far is Stamford from Manhattan?


The express train from Stamford to Grand Central takes 43 minutes.  By car, you can get to Washington Heights in about 40 minutes from Stamford; other parts of Manhattan are all less than an hour from Stamford.


What about other parts of the New York metro area?


It takes less than an hour to get to Monsey, Teaneck, Kew Gardens Hills, New Haven, Riverdale, or New Rochelle from Stamford.  Flatbush is about an hour away from Stamford.  So is Lawrence.  In short, even though Stamford is in a different state and sounds far away, it takes a lot less time to get to parts of the New York Metro area from Stamford than most people think.


What’s the real estate market like?


Many houses and condos for sale in the Stamford area are now priced much less than they were two years ago, making this a particularly attractive time to purchase a home if you don’t have an existing home to sell.  There are several different neighborhoods within walking distance of the shuls, each with a somewhat different group of homes that populate the area.  There are also condos and rentals available within a short walk from the shuls, both in hi-rise apartment buildings and in detached units.  The Orthodox community is fortunate to have several real estate brokers who are members of the shuls, and who are familiar with the particular needs of Orthodox families.  Click on the tab Moving to Stamford in the left hand column of the page to obtain the names and contact information for the real estate brokers who serve the Orthodox community in Stamford.


Are there a lot of children in the Orthodox community?


You’ll find kids of all ages in Stamford, and they tend to take part in the youth activities at the shuls and at the JCC.  Some parents organize individual play groups for toddlers. Many of the kids gather in the park on Shabbat, along with their parents.  Some of the teenagers participate in the teen minyan and in other activities for older kids.  Both Orthodox shuls have active youth programming.


Why should I move to Stamford, as opposed to other more established Orthodox communities?


Stamford is well known to be a community that is particularly warm and hospitable.  It is a very pretty community physically.  Those who move to Stamford can immediately get involved in various aspects of the Orthodox community, if they choose, or can take a more laid back approach.  Many people feel that the community tends to be less judgmental about religious differences and hashkafa issues, and is very accepting of those who may not exactly fit the mold of the typical Orthodox family.  You can easily find a place for yourself in Stamford, regardless of your background.  The community has all the basic amenities that an Orthodox family is looking for, along with a great group of families who live here and who are committed to making sure that the Stamford community continues to grow and flourish.  It has an out-of-town feel, yet is still very close to New York City ... so you can get the best of both worlds.