Join us, Hudson County!

We are thrilled at the possibility that the southern Hudson County cities — Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne — might join the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.

Part of our pleasure comes from the knowledge that the area has a huge amount to offer. We have written stories in the past few years about the Jewish renaissance in Hoboken and Jersey City. For years, we know, people have predicted such a renaissance, but it never panned out. Once their children hit school age, the young families that provided those cities with a nearly endless supply of commuters outbound across the Hudson eventually would leave, their protestations that they’d never make such a move trailing limply behind them.

That’s not true any more. Young families are staying, single people and empty nesters and childless couples are joining them, and the Jewish communities in southern Hudson County are flourishing. Tiny, densely packed Hoboken is doing so well that its hardest-to-find amenity, the one thing whose lack is keeping people from its restaurants and galleries, is parking. It is possible to drive into Hoboken as a blasé Manhattanite, certain that if you can park a car there, in Manhattan, you can park it anywhere, only to leave with your steering wheel more or less between your legs. And Jersey City, the county seat, is a marvel of multicultural amity; it’s easy to forget that it is the state’s second largest city.

The mayors of both Jersey City and Hoboken — Steven Fulop and Dawn Zimmer — are Jewish; although this is nothing but a point of pride, we take pride in it.

But there is something else that feels particularly right about this move to us.

The Jewish Standard was created in Jersey City in 1931; in the early 1970s we opened an office in Bergen County, and by the early 1980s the move to Teaneck was complete. Our oldest papers, bound in what looks like real leather, yellowed and crumbling now, still explode with the energy of Jewish life in Hudson County; our publisher, Jamie Janoff, and his sister, Beth Chananie, remember their lives there, their faces going soft as they think of their parents in Jersey City, not only alive but still young (Morris and Ruth Janoff met in the Manischewitz factory in Jersey City, the one that just closed this year; she was a secretary and he, already the Jewish Standard publisher, was making a business call).

So for us, this possible change, which represents both past and future, will be a wonderful move. We look forward to being able to add more stories of city life to our mainly suburban pages, and we welcome the idea of the Jewish communities of southern Hudson County merging their energy and ideas with ours.

About the Author
Joanne is the editor of the Jewish Standard and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two dogs, so she has firsthand knowledge of two thriving and idiosyncratic Jewish communities. (Actually that's three communities, if you also count the dog people.)