By Aviva Marlin
I am a New Yorker and Evan is a Texan. Five months after we got married, the residency match placed us in Columbus, Ohio. Fast forward seven years, we have a family – a dog and two children, Gabriel and Yael – and the ability to choose where to settle.
There were several factors to consider: our careers, Jewish life, proximity to family, climate – and Evan’s vow not to return to New York City after eight years of college plus medical school! As jobs across the country were posted, we Googled synagogues, schools, JCC and proximity to family. Though we had never heard of Allentown or the Lehigh Valley, we liked what we saw, and Evan came for his first interview at St. Luke’s in early 2016. (I made sure he flew into ABE, so he wouldn’t realize how close it was to New York.)
The hospital, understanding the importance of the Jewish community to us, solicited what seemed like every Jewish doctor to come and meet him. He even attended an AIPAC event. Perhaps it was coincidental that this event was taking place the day Evan was visiting, but it signified to us that this community is active Jewishly. We have not been disappointed. It seems that every weekend, we are attending a community event – whether through the JCC, Federation, Jewish Day School or Sons of Israel.
We told ourselves before moving here that if we ever got bored of small town living, we’d venture the short distance to Philly; it has taken seven months for us to have a free Sunday and be able to check out the Please Touch Museum and visit family there. Allentown truly has check marks in all of our criteria boxes. (And let’s just keep it a secret from Evan that we are as close to Newark Airport as we are to PHL.)