Boston: The Lowdown

25 May

There are several standard facts of life that one grows up with when born in Boston:

1)      “R’s” are optional

2)      Wicked is a compliment

3)       “T” is for trolley

4)      Curses are meant to be broken, no matter how long it takes

But when growing up in the Jewish community, there’s a fifth fact that is unique to our community:

5)      There are always more boys than girls

I was all of thirteen when this truth registered. Though I had moved out years before, I returned to my beloved town of birth for summers. I scrambled after energy-high children by day and reconnected with friends and family by night . Ah yes, those Boston summers…learning to throw a football in the *Kleinstein’s backyard, barbecuing hotdogs  to the rollicking cheers of a Red Sox game, taking tutorials of mud-castle building…my experiences were always unique. None of my peers were very interested in talking to me, but then I realized why: pre-teen boys don’t like to talk, and I was surrounded by them from all sides.

“There’s a reason we like having you here, sweetie,” a family friends used to joke, “we just don’t have as many girls around here as boys. And as they grow older, the odds grow higher and higher.”


Some claim that there’s something in the water, but I think my father explained it best: Boston is a great place to live. It’s clean, pretty and spacious. The Jewish community is big but not bursting at the seams, with easy access to kosher food, shuls, mikvah, schools and family services. There is one pizza shop instead of twenty-one and one Beis Yaakov instead of seven, but it’s enough. Baruch Hashem.

Yet once it’s time for a young Orthodox Bostonian to go to college, there begins to be a split. Many students begin to out-of-town, or as the rest of the Jewish community might call it, In-Town. The girls know their marriage options in Boston by this point. If they really want to go out with someone from the area, they can have it set up chick-chock, but most of them are interested in broadening their horizons. The Rav went down to YU every week, why not them? Let’s be honest, the best place to find boys from all over the country is the YU library. Boston is nice, but why settle for its windy winters when you Prince Charming may come from Miami, LA or Beit Shemesh? And once they do find that chivalrous lad, they’re gone for good. Bye-bye, Beantown.

Yet guys have a different attitude. For many of them, the fast paced life of New York is of no interest.  Think about it. You’ve grown up with trees, brownstone buildings and quiet streets for the first 18 years of your life. All of the sudden your entire life is limited to the same four nasty, smelly, Spanish graffitied blocks and to make matters worse, you’ve got GWB traffic  jammed up your ear 24/7. The natives are pushy, nosey and indifferent to your existence. Amsterdam Ave is not Harvard St. and when you measure the pros and cons, Harvard St. starts looking better by the millisecond. And with schools such as BU, MIT and Harvard within a 3 mile radius, there isn’t much concern about getting an education. There are places to join a morning and/or evening seder, thrice-daily minyanim and grab a slice of pizza. It isn’t New York, but it’s home.

*Name has been changed. If there are Kleinsteins in the greater Boston area, I am not referring to you.

4 Responses to “Boston: The Lowdown”

  1. harryer than them all May 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    i havent been to boston in years, but i used to love visiting it

  2. Ishkol May 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    A fellow Bostonian? How interesting.

    • Coral Cap May 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

      Yup! I haven’t lived there in a while but I love to visit, especially at this time of year.


  1. Thursday Links « Bad for Shidduchim - May 27, 2011

    […] dating to take off. Odd, but it sounds an awful lot like a mixed Shabbos meal… Coral Cap on why women should move to Boston. You know, I considered it briefly, but the pizza shop I tried there didn’t impress me. Maybe […]

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