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!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • 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.