Our Communities: The community of Phoenix, AZ is home to families who differ vastly from one another. What do they have in common? They all feel at home at Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona.
By Anash.org writer
When Meyer and Miriam Litzman moved to Phoenix over a decade ago, head shluchim Rabbi Zalman and Mrs. Tzipi Levertov had one question for them: “How can we help you feel at home?” At the time, there were many shluchim in Arizona, including several around Phoenix, but no other anash.
Fast forward 10 years, and the Litzmans have been joined by over twenty anash families, with more arriving each year. Mrs. Litzman attributes this growth to the warmth with which the shluchim welcome each new addition to the community.
“We feel wanted and appreciated here,” Mrs. Litzman told Anash.org. “Families living here are vastly different from one another, and everyone is accepted as they are. Rabbi Levertov lets everyone know how happy he is they are here, and makes efforts to reach them at their level.”
Phoenix is one of many ‘hybrid Chabad’ communities, a relatively new phenomenon.These integrated communities typically begin when anash families move to a city where there is a thriving Chabad house and join the local institutions. With time, the flavor of the community begins to shift, and finding the appropriate balance can take a lot of work from the shluchim who built up the mosdos and the anash who choose to be part of them.
“There is a lot to love about Phoenix,” said Mrs. Mussie Levertov, who runs the preschool and shul programming together with her husband Rabbi Dov. “The weather is great most of the year, there are many conveniences, and it’s a beautiful city. It’s not your typical anash community, though – there are families of all backgrounds who attend the shul, and engaging with everyone is an integral part of living here.”
Getting Kosher in Phoenix is simple – there are two fully stocked Kosher groceries, and some of the regular supermarkets carry cholov yisroel and Kosher meat. It can be pricey, though, so locals have come up with much cheaper alternatives, such as bringing in deliveries from out of state.
“Several years ago, a visitor to the nearby frum community was shocked to see that most of the families living there were not keeping cholov yisroel,” Mrs. Litzman told Anash.org. “He decided to take action, and there is now a service that comes every few weeks to deliver cholov yisroel products at cost price, and many anash take the opportunity to stock up.”
The Lubavitch contingency is still rather small but the atmosphere is wonderful, Litzman shares. “There is no drama here. Everyone is friends, and is so kind and close to one another. There is a diverse mix of families here, and everyone respects each other. It’s an easy place to live – people are happy and low maintenance.”
One of the ways the women connect is through a lively N’shei WhatsApp group. This summer, members of the group initiated a ‘family co-op camp’, where each participating family picked one day to plan a trip or activity for everyone who had signed up. One day, ten anash families took a trip to a nearby farm; another day, someone rented a waterslide for the group to enjoy in their backyard.
While the community programs are mostly integrated, there are some that are specific to anash. There is an authentic cheder, and for every chassidishe yom tov the families get together to celebrate properly. The cheder teachers play a big role in organizing farbrengens and making chassidishe programs available to the community.
“There’s a fantastic Tzivos Hashem, and people in the community have spearheaded initiatives like Mesibas Shabbos and Shabbos Mevarchim Tehillim,” Mrs. Litzman said. “There are so many anash kids here, and they spend so much time running around and playing – they are literally growing up together!”
Community size: 20+ Families
Mosdos and Amenities:
- Main Chabad Shul: Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona
- Chabad Schools: Cheder Lubavitch of Arizona, Alef Bet Preschool
- Yeshiva: No yeshivos – the anash families living here are young – but Los Angeles is a short flight away.
- Mikvaos: Chabad mikvah in the area
- Kosher Establishments: There are supermarkets and several restaurants 5 minutes from the Chabad community; there is also Oven-Fresh Challah right in the neighborhood!
- Moreh Hora’ah: Rabbi Zalman Levertov
Cost of Living:
- Housing market (ZIP code 85016):
- Aparment rentals begin at $1,000 a month; a 3 to 4 bedroom house with a pool can be rented for around $2,500 a month.
- Apartment and condo prices begin at around $220k
- Single family homes begin at $450s; newer, more spacious homes can go up to $800k.
- There is a varied job market in Phoenix; Rabbi Levertov makes efforts to help people with the job search, but locals recommend you come with a plan of your own.
- Cheder tuition:
- Tuition is around $15,000; however, tuition grants cut families’ costs to a fraction of the official price.
Nearby Anash communities: Los Angeles – 1 hour flight, 5.5 hour drive
Want to further explore this community? Reach out to Rabbi Dov Levertov at [email protected] or 602-793-0152, or call Miriam Litzman at 602-301-6170.
For expert help navigating the Phoenix housing market call Marcedes Roussel at 602-549-4963.
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