For such a small place, there is quite a large Jewish and Israeli community. Before I arrived, I started contacting people through various Facebook pages, and was pleasantly surprised to get such warm responses. During my short but sweet stay in North Carolina, I was lucky enough to make some really great friends and meet wonderful, high quality, legitimate folks.
Research Triangle is home to multiple Chabad houses – I was hosted by the lovely Chabad of Raleigh for Yom Kippur, and enjoyed Sukkot, Simchat Torah and awesome conversations with the incredible Rabbi Zalman & his exceptionally kind wife, Yehudis, from Chabad UNC. They are warm, inviting, accepting and inspiring individuals who I am lucky enough to have met. Duke University has a Hillel and a Jewish Center, although I did not end up spending much time there. Durham has a gorgeous JCC with a very friendly staff, a wide variety of community events, and a beautiful gym. For young professionals in the Raleigh-Durham area, look no further than Raleigh Tribe. This group of fun loving Jews offers Shabbat dinners, outdoor activities, bar hopping (Downtown Raleigh has a great scene – do not discount that), Krav Maga lessons, holiday celebrations and more. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend spending time with them.
Ladies, there are far more single Jewish and Israeli men than there are single Jewish and Israeli women. This is apparent even on Internet dating sites such as OkCupid. The Israeli crew at my previous work place sent out a few emails on my behalf and the next thing I knew, I met and befriended Israeli PhD students and Post Docs, and got to (briefly, unfortunately) know a particularly handsome ENT surgeon. Among other fun things, we went bar hopping in Chapel Hill, my favorite part of Research Triangle by far.
Not only are there plentiful men in the area, there are also many Middle Eastern restaurants, most of which are Lebanese. Surprisingly (and I am one tough customer, especially when it comes to food…especially when it comes to Mediterranean food) I was at Sitti numerous times during my stay. Their schwarma isn’t real schwarma, so avoid that great disappointment; but their pita, hummus, tabouleh,baba ghanouj, salads, deserts and wine are all delicious. Although I became friends with some of the owners of other Lebanese restaurants in the area, I can’t recommend their food. That being said, I never got around to trying Med Deli in Chapel Hill, a location that was highly suggested by the good folks of North Carolina. At least I got to try a Krispy Kreme hamburger at the NC State Fair – my stomach still hurts from that delicious mistake. Here is a photograph taken at the Fair:
I learned a ton about Behavioral Economics and the Research Triangle area, and I’m sure I’ll be back for a visit sometime. The area has much to offer, and despite my shorter than planned visit, I’m glad I got to experience it (even though I left my close to perfect life in Tel Aviv…ouch). Now that I am back in sunny SoCal, all I need is a fabulous apartment and terrific job. I miss being the new gal in town, but I’ll have to settle for being the not-so-new gal back in town. It seems as though I’ll need to take the same advice I give you, friends: Tizremu!