What is special about your community? How would you describe it?
Rabbi Slatus: When visitors come to the shul to daven, they remark on how much different it is than New York. They don’t rush! It’s an incredibly warm community. The cost of living is much less than New York. We have a mikvah, eruv, etc. You can come to sit back and relax, but there is also so much get involved with. There are great experiences in the shul, school, chevra kadisha, kollel, and with hachnasat orchim. It’s about the quality of activity. It reminds me of a shteltl in Europe, or how you would imagine them to be. People can grow here more than they could have possibly imagined.
Rebbetzin Slatus: There are so many incredible things that you find out of town. Just by being yourself you can be mekarev people. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you just need to show people you care about them and don’t judge them, through love and kiruv and teaching Torah. Torah can be metaher people — purifying. It brings the neshama to the surface. You never know who you might touch.
What are your plans for the future?
We’re very happy and not going anywhere. We see the community continuing to grow, there are jobs available, and it’s a great place to raise kids. Everything is close, there’s always a place to park, it’s safe, and the kids are respectful. It’s just a traditional southern environment. For the next step, we want to build a high school. This will be a challenge, but it will hopefully do a lot for the community.