Brighton is evocative. It conjures up scenes of the sea, the sun, colourful cosmopolitan diversity, Nash architecture, the pier, seagulls, blue and white deck chairs. A young city, full of life and a vibrant economy – and an easy, fast connection to London.
The Jewish community is also cosmopolitan and eclectic. There is more of a vibrant young Jewish population in Brighton than most realize, a better known strong Israeli contingent and a far more engaged elder demographic.
Covid has seen an influx of new residents to the city as remote working, a better work-life balance, the sea air, and more open spaces have been major draws.
Our foundational task in building this incredibly ambitious new Jewish hub by the sea, is to help create a genuine community out of that young Jewish population. A small part of this lies in the facilities we’re building on-site – kosher food, programming & events, co-working space, education and leisure amenities to complement the homes. All with the mission to attract the sort of dynamic, energetic, community-minded people who may want to write the next chapter in Jewish Brighton’s 250 year history. These are people who understand the critical role community has in building bridges and combatting loneliness and isolation that has definitely been exacerbated by Covid over the last few years.
We have decided to hold back around 20 two bedrooms homes on site for rental. These homes are ideal for the young people who will want to become a part of our vision to revitalise our community. We recognize that relocating is a commitment on its own, so offering rental will provide young families with a chance for a unique adventure, to see if the laidback, cosmopolitan, seaside life of Brighton and Hove is right for them, without further commitment. We have organisations willing to support young couples financially, for example with moving costs, and also to subsidize the costs of facilities on site, most importantly nursery fees. A supported rental model in a wonderful development, in an amazing location, in a beautiful city could and should create the foundations for a vibrant young community.
Brighton has Orthodox, Reform and Progressive congregations. All of them have a significant part to play in shaping our new development, alongside local pastoral Jewish organisations such as the Ralli Hall community centre, the Sussex Jewish Rep Council, Helping Hands and a host of Jewish societies. We hope to become a home to all of them. We are an eclectic bunch, but the beautiful new centre we are building can and will be a community of Jewish communities, and indeed local communities.
What has become more apparent in the last year, as we have hosted visiting Rabbis and community leaders to tour our site, is that our impact has to be national and even international. We have the facilities and local accommodation to become a centre for regular Shabbatons and simchas. This will not only service Jewish communities around the world, but also build vibrancy for the local community welcoming them to use our facilities and creating a shop window for what the city has to offer a young Jewish crowd.
Equally, as our local MP said over the summer, ours will not only be the largest Jewish community facility across the South Coast, it will be the largest community facility full stop. We wanted to build an asset for the city, and a centre for everyone to use and enjoy. This will add to the vibrancy of our hub, and become a source for breaking down misconceptions by creating a platform to share our culture with the city and to add to the diverse tapestry of Brighton & Hove.
By Marc Sugarman
Interested in re-locating to Brighton? Ask our CEO a question by emailing email@example.com