Alabama Shul Lures 20 Families With 50K Offer

$1M Plan Boosts Jewish Life in Smalltown Dothan


By Maya Shwayder

Published October 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A smalltown Alabama synagogue has lured 20 Jewish families with a millionaire’s offer of $50,000 to relocate there.

Temple Emanu-El in Dothan, Alabama, has offered 20 Jewish families $50,000 to move to their town, the Peanut Capital of the World, and help boost the congregation’s dwindling numbers, the Associated Press reported.

Dothan, also known as the Peanut Capital of the World, is a community of approximately 65,000 people situated south of Montgomery near Georgia and Florida borders.

Dothan is mostly Southern Baptist and various other Christian denominations; there is one mosque/ In 2007, Emanu-El had just 43 families to its name, when local businessman Larry Blumberg came up with the scheme.

To be fair, the $50,000 are to assist families with the expenses involved in moving. All families who take the offer and join must stay for five years.

So far it has been working. Today the congregation has 71 families, and the religious school grew from five to 23 students. New congregants moved in from Florida, Georgie, Virginia, and as far away as Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, AP said.

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, who leads the congregation, told the AP this program could be a blueprint for how other struggling Southern Jewish communities could help rebuild themselves.


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!
  • 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.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • 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.