Dayton’s hometown advantage and growing opportunities encourage young adults to return to their roots

If you have spent any time in downtown Dayton recently, you’ve probably noticed the city looks vastly different than it did a decade ago. Areas that were once dilapidated and desolate are now bustling with activity. New buildings and townhomes seem to be popping up constantly. People can be found partaking in various activities ~ whether that be attending a baseball game, going out for dinner at one of the many downtown restaurants, attending a play or musical, or spending time at Riverscape.

As young people move to Dayton, we can see a shift starting to occur in the city. Thanks to new job opportunities, many people are planting roots in Dayton for the first time. Others are choosing to return to the city they once called home. Rachel Shon and Brittany Sussman are two young Jewish adults who returned to Dayton.

After living in New Iberia and Lafayette, Louisiana, Brittany was offered a job promotion at Cargill. It happened to be in Dayton. Although she was only gone for three years, Brittany was surprised by the changes throughout the city. “There is more going on in downtown Dayton than there was when I left,” says Brittany. “There is a lot more to do. Downtown has really grown. And there are lots of new local restaurants and breweries!”

Brittany’s also busy in the Jewish community. She participates in the Federation’s Young Adult Division (YAD as well as other Federation events), and activities at her synagogue, Beth Abraham. Brittany says, “There are many ways to get involved with the Jewish community!”

Rachel left Dayton to attend the University of Toledo and Cleveland State University for occupational therapy. After receiving her graduate degree from Cleveland State, Rachel moved to Richmond, Virginia to complete her first fieldwork at Richmond Children’s Hospital. She came back to Dayton to complete her second and final fieldwork experience. She now works at Miami Valley Hospital.

There is more going on in downtown Dayton than there was when I left, there is a lot more to do.

~ Brittany Sussman
Community Member

There is more going on in downtown Dayton than there was when I left, there is a lot more to do.

~ Brittany Sussman
Community Member

There is more going on in downtown Dayton than there was when I left, there is a lot more to do.

~ Brittany Sussman
Community Member

One of the things Rachel loves most about Dayton, apart from her family being here, is access to different activities within the city, such as MetroParks and the arts. “It’s been great to see and experience the revitalization of downtown Dayton, including the Oregon District and St. Anne’s Hill,” says Rachel.

She is also enjoying Dayton’s Jewish community. “Growing up at Temple Israel and then returning as an adult~ it felt like I never left. The community is welcoming, warm, and sharing. I think that’s what we as a community have over Cleveland, Toledo, or Richmond, Virginia. In other cities you have to make the first move, where as in Dayton, it seems like our community actively seeks out new arrivals.”

In addition to her involvement at Temple Israel, Rachel is also active in YAD. “It’s a great way to meet other people,” she says.

Rachel is now passing on the warmth of our community with new Jewish hospital employees who may need a place to celebrate the holidays by inviting them to her home.

Ultimately, both Rachel and Brittany recommend Dayton as a great place to move, or to return. “Come on back!” says Rachel. “Dayton isn’t the sleepy city you left.”

If you would like more information about YAD, or would like to connect with Jewish people in the community, please contact Cheryl Carne, Director of External Relations at (937) 610-1778 or ccarne@jfgd.net.

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