House-Hunting in Florida Suburbia Turns Into Great Mezuzah Trek

How Can You Tell if People Next Door Are Jewish?

Thinkstock

By Nancy Kalikow Maxwell

Published May 26, 2013, issue of May 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

My childhood friend Sami’s mother claimed she could drive down a residential street and pick out where fellow Jews lived. Granted, most Jews don’t select colonial décor — too Daughters of the American Revolution for our taste. But she denied relying on knotty-pine coffee tables to weed out the non-Jews. Rather, she claimed to possess a “sixth sense” to intuit Jewish homes.

I wish I had her extrasensory perception. After my husband died and my daughter went away to college, I decided to sell my four bedroom house in suburban Davie, Fla., and move to a 55-plus community. But I wanted one with a large concentration of other Jews. Approximately 10–15% of Broward County’s population is Jewish, but not all of the condo developments are thought to reflect this demographic.

Century Village and Kings Point are known to be heavily Jewish. John Knox Village is not, perhaps because its namesake was a 16th-century Protestant religious reformer. When my real estate agent mentioned another, I was uncomfortable asking him if it was particularly Jewish.

I might have brought it up if I thought he was Jewish, but his last name sounded Irish. Instead, I decided to visit the community and attempt to discern its religious makeup on my own. It was time to test my own Jewdar.

I began by employing a modified version of God’s Passover method. Driving slowly down the first block of the development, I looked for mezuzas on the door frames. But because the single-family homes are set back from the road, and my eyesight is not as good as God’s, I couldn’t see as far as the front door. I pulled over, parked in front of one of the houses and began walking.

Halfway up the first walkway I spotted my first mezuza — one of those green and black ones like the souvenir my parents brought back from Israel. Okay, I thought, so at least one Jew must live here.

I repeated my trek to the next house. Alas, the door sported no mezuza. So maybe the development was 50% Jewish.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.