JEWISH ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY
"Investec Realty is committed to supporting the Asheville Jewish Community."
"We are an estimated 2,500 Jewish families, two synagogues, a Jewish Community Center, a Community Day School, Chabad Center, Academic Centers for Asheville Jewish Studies and Diversity Education, Hillel, an active Hadassah chapter, a Jewish Business Forum, a strong Federation, and more! We are a wonderfully diverse community: Jews by birth and Jews by choice, traditionalists and spiritualist, all living in one of the most desirable areas in the country. It's not surprising then that the Asheville Jewish community is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of growth. As quality of life continues to play a bigger role in the decision of where to live, Asheville will continue to attract more and more young professional families, second home buyers, empty nesters, and active retirees." Alan Silverman, member of Congregation Beth Israel and Vice President of Maccabi Academy.
Asheville Jewish Community Facts and Figures
The Asheville Jewish Leadership Collaborative, on behalf of the Asheville Jewish Community, embarked on the first-ever demographic study of our community. The study was designed and performed by demographers from Brandeis University.
Total Number of Jews in WNC: There are approximately 4,720 year round residents in Jewish-connected homes in Western North Carolina and at least another 1,000 seasonal residents.
Where do we live? 72% of the Jewish connected households in Western North Carolina are located in Buncombe County. Another 13% are in Henderson County, 5% in Transylvania County, and 3% in Macon County; the remaining 7% of households we found were spread among 14 other counties in Western North Carolina.
10 Most Popular ZIP Codes: 28804, 28803, 28805, 28806, 28801 (Asheville); 28704 (Arden); 28787 (Weaverville); 28712 (Brevard); 28739 (Hendersonville); and 28715 (Candler).
Tenure of Residence: Nearly 60% of all Jewish-connected households in Western North Carolina first moved to the area in the last ten years, and nearly 80% arrived in the last 20 years.
Seasonal Community Members: Of the estimated 835 seasonal members of our community, about 46% re from Florida; 10% are from South Carolina and another 10% come from other parts of North Carolina; 18% are from Connecticut, New York, and Oregon. Other states represented by seasonal residents include Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Virginia.
How old are we? The mean age of our Jewish community is 49.3 years; an estimated 28% of the WNC Jewish population is 65 years or older; 21% are 55- 64; 21% are 35-54; 15% are 18-34; children (aged 17 or younger) make up 15% of the population.
Business Ownership: About one-third of Jewish adults in Western North Carolina own their own businesses (35% of year-round residents and 30% of seasonal residents). Of those, 93% operate only in Western North Carolina and 7% operate both in Western North Carolina and elsewhere.
Marital Status, Children, and Intermarriage: Approximately three-quarters (78%) of Jewish-connected households in Western North Carolina include a married couple. Forty percent of these couples are interfaith. Among households that include married couples, 27% include children. Sixty-four percent of the children are being raised exclusively Jewish, with another 19% being raised Jewish and something else. Seventeen percent are being raised exclusively non-Jewish.
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“Many people who come to the south are surprised to find out that there is a strong Asheville Jewish community that has been here for more than 100 years. That certainly includes Asheville and the surrounding area. I have personally been laughed at by people outside the south who thought I was making that up. In our interviews for The Down Home Project, the state-wide history of Jews of North Carolina, Rabbi Michael Robinson, 80, who was born and grew up in Asheville, but lived outside the south as an adult, told us that when he was in the navy in WWII, shipmates would not believe that he was Jewish and from the south." Jan Schochet, partner History@Hand
Jewish Asheville Links
- Center for Jewish Studies at UNC-Asheville
Dr. Rick Chess, Director
- Chabad Lubavitch of WNC
Rabbi Shaya Susskind, Executive Director
The Chabad House
660 Merrimon Avenue, Suite C
Asheville, NC 28804
- Congregation Beth Israel (Conservative)
Robert Cabelli, Rabbi
229 Murdock Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
- Maccabi Academy of Asheville
- WNC Hillel
- WNC Jewish Federation
Janet Oppenheimer, Executive Director
P.O. Box 7126
Asheville, NC 28802
- Asheville/Hendersonville Chapter of Hadassah
Asheville Hard Lox Festival
Jewish Festival - Downtown Asheville
Got a craving for homemade matzo ball soup or maybe a nice corned beef on rye? Perhaps a potato knish or a kosher hot dog? Head to downtown Asheville for the annual HardLox, Asheville's Jewish Food and Heritage Festival, to be held in Pack Square Park in from 11 AM – 4 PM.There will be lots of delicious homemade Jewish foods, Israeli dancing, crafts, klezmer music and lots more! Before you leave stop by HardLox To Go and take home your favorite Jewish foods.
Have your name written in Hebrew. Discover the Torah. Learn about Jewish holidays and festivals. Join in the singing and dancing. Every Jewish organization in the Asheville area will be represented with many providing interactive educational opportunities to learn about our Jewish heritage and culture. The HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival is hosted by Congregation Beth HaTephila and co-sponsored by the City of Asheville. Asheville has a vibrant Jewish community with fifteen active organizations. The Asheville Jewish community has been described as inviting, inclusive, friendly, welcoming, and inspiring. And did we mention food?
Choose from over twenty mouth-watering traditional Jewish foods: Pastrami on Rye Corned Beef on Rye Chopped Liver Sandwich Lox, Cream Cheese, Bagel Falafel/Hummus Platter Whitefish Salad Sandwich Potato Latkes Potato Knish Kosher Dill Pickle Homemade Matzo Ball Soup Blintzes Noodle Kugel Kosher Hot Dog Challah Babkas Macaroons Mandelbrot Black & White Cookies Dr. Browns SodaPlease Contact Dave for more information: 828-273-3349
THE JEWISH LEADERSHIP COLLABORATIVE OF WNC
The Jewish Leadership Collaborative of WNC(JLC-WNC) is a forum for community-wide planning and collaboration. The JLC-WNC is comprised of lay/professional leaders and representatives from the organizations that make up One Jewish Asheville:
- Asheville/Hendersonville Chapter of Hadassah
- Asheville Jewish Business Forum
- Asheville Jewish Community Center
- Center for Jewish Studies at UNCA
- Chabad House
- Congregation Agudas Israel
- Congregation Beth HaTephila
- Congregation Beth Israel
- Jewish Family Services of WNC
- Jewish Secular Community of Asheville
- UNC-A Hillel
- WNC Jewish Federation
- Carolina Jews for Justice
The JLC-WNC (was called the Asheville Jewish Leadership Collaborative until October 2016) formed in November 2006 for the purpose of enhancing communications and encouraging collaborations among Asheville’s Jewish community organizations. It meets 10 times throughout the year. Some of the past initiatives discussed and/or implemented by the JLC-WNC include:
- WNC Jewish Population Study
- Community-wide Facilities-sharing Study
- The Community High Holiday Pass Program (read more)
- One Jewish Asheville Marketing Initiative
- Coordination of the 2012 Southern Jewish Heritage Society Conference (read more)
- Mapping of the Jewish Community Infrastructure
- Feasibility of a Community Fundraising Program
- Support for Jewish Family Services as an Independent Community Organization
- Coordination of Organizational Manpower and Resources
To review summaries for the JLC-WNC meetings, click here.
In addition to regular meetings, many of the members of the JLC-WNC take part in the Shalom Hartman Lecture Series, a two-year collaborative leadership learning program sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel.
For information about the Jewish Leadership Collaborative of WNC, contact Tzedek Fellow, Matt Andersen.