Long Island is a diverse region. Over eight million people make up Nassau and Suffolk Counties. For the people of the Jewish faith, it is a welcoming home. West Hempstead and the towns that surround it, are home to schools, higher education, Kosher restaurants and of course synagogues.
While an Eruv creates a border around West Hempstead and Franklin Square, the region itself includes rich Jewish histories in Malverne, Elmont, Valley Stream, Mineola and Garden City. One of the emerging communities, Cathedral Gardens, has a beautiful Shul, Congregation Beth Israel on Hilton Avenue. It traces its history to 1907 when the first ever minyan was held in Hempstead. This Conservative, egalitarian synagogue features old and new. The front of the building is a century-old Victorian house. The side, the main entrance, a modern edifice. Rabbi Abe Lebovic faces the same challenges as other Shuls, but remains optimistic. “The key to our future is in the children and young families of the area. If we appeal to them when they’re young, they won’t want to leave.”
For many of the West Hempstead residents, they continue the familial tradition to live where they were brought up. For other families, it’s a destination to raise children in modern Orthodox setting. Jewish Day Schools as well as Yeshivot are on most blocks. Adelphi University and Hofstra University are both nearby. Half a dozen museums make up “Museum Row” in Garden City.
Walk along Hempstead Avenue and you’ll find Kosher supermarkets next to Kosher Italian and Chinese restaurants. Nassau Avenue has great shopping that’s walking distance from quiet streets – the trademark of suburban life on Long Island.
West Hempstead caters to modern life on Long Island while holding onto Jewish traditions. Certainly the best of both worlds.