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Scher: A new Hasidic heaven in Cote-St-Luc

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The borough of Outremont is home to thousands of Hasidic Jews.

Brick houses with neatly trimmed grass are aligned on the streets of Cote-St-Luc. The city is clean and tranquil. If you would take a walk through the streets, you would probably encounter residents who have lived there for decades. But occasionally you will bump into a hasidic boy running about, his curly peyos flying in the wind or a hasidic girl dressed in her modest school uniform playing gleefully with her friends. For a moment there you may wonder if you’ve stumbled into Outremont, the hubbub of hasidic life. You would however be mistaken.

A group of adventurous hasidic families have recently found a new home in the small, but welcoming community of Cote-St-Luc.

“For the past 10 years we have been looking to buy a house in Outremont,” Chesky Reiss explains. “After countless house viewings and frustrating meetings, the reality hit us. There were two options before us: we could either buy a house we couldn’t afford or settle into a house too small to suit our growing family’s needs. As two responsible parents we knew that our children deserved better. It was time to find option number three.”

Reiss got wind of several well-priced houses going up for sale in the Cote-St-Luc area. At first, the Reisses were unsure how they would make it work. There were so many factors they would have to consider. There was the school\work commute, a new neighbourhood, further from family and friends, to name a few. It was a risky move, but one they knew was vital to take.

READ: MONTREAL’S HASIDIC HEROES

The Reiss family wasn’t the only Hasidic family facing those housing difficulties. Once the “Let’s move to Cote-St-Luc” whispers became louder, more families became curious. Together with the help and support of each other, several hassidic families took the plunge.

Chumy Moskowitz and her family were one of those families. “Of course, we were nervous at first, but it has been an amazing experience,” she said . “We have everything we need here. I shop at the local grocery stores and recently we have started a daycare for the local children. We hope to expand the daycare centre, as the community will grow.

“The community is still growing. Five families joined last summer and five more are moving in within the next few weeks.” Reiss added.

The hasidic community in Cote-St-Luc is comprised of about 20 families. Some are young parents on the brink of starting a family, while others are marrying off their children already, but they all have something in common. They have packed up all they owned and moved their loved ones to a new neighbourhood, to thrive and build a great life.

“We were expecting it to be much more difficult. Baruch Hashem it has been a smooth transition. Our children are striving in our spacious beautiful house. In fact, just recently I got a call from my daughter’s teacher. She wanted me to know that my daughter has blossomed and matured ever since the move. This is the greatest blessing to any parent,” Reiss said.

As a small business owner, Moscowtiz had an extra difficulty. Her clients were all back in Outremont. At first, she didn’t know how she was going to make her move and her business work together. But with perseverance and patience, she now has an office in Outremont and meets her clients there.

The commute to school and work is the most difficult part of the move. The drive is long and stressful, but it’s a small price to pay for all the amazing benefits that come with living in Cote-St-Luc.

The bigger house has brought greater opportunities for the children. Reiss talked about one such creative opportunity. The Reisses have a beautiful garden, so the children are afforded the opportunity to get their hands dirty and plant the flowers they like when the spring season rolls in.

Even moving away from friends and family hasn’t been as difficult as expected. The hasidim have been welcomed by the local community.. In fact, for the first few months, the hasidim joined several different shuls for Shabbos davening. Mingling with the local community has been a wonderful learning experience.

“We moved away from one community, but we got a new one!” Reiss explained.