Yehoshua and Danielle Levine
(Moved to Memphis in Summer 2015)
Where did each of you grow up?
Danielle grew up in Manhattan and never drove until she moved to Memphis! Yehoshua grew up in Englewood, NJ.
Where did you live as a couple before Memphis?
We lived in Brookline, MA since we were married in 2004.
Why did you leave that community?
We strongly considered settling in Brookline/Boston, and almost bought our first house there. But we always had an adventurous spirit and thought broadly about other options. Although we loved Brookline and miss our friends and the neighborhood, the community there was very transient and most of our friends had moved away long before we did. Boston is also very expensive and is saturated with doctors. We thought that we would enjoy a more comfortable quality of life and more satisfying professional life elsewhere.
What attracted you to Memphis?
At the time, we had 3 boys and were ready to buy a house -- ideally, a house and a yard with plenty of space. We wanted a good community to settle in, where we would have a terrific quality of life as successful professionals but also be actively involved parents. We had always liked the idea of smaller Jewish communities, where people really could make a significant impact. Yehoshua was finishing medical training and was looking for a job, and found an excellent professional opportunity in Memphis. Although Danielle loved her job in Boston, she had enticing job offers in Memphis.
We found Memphis to have most of the features of any major American city, except for all the things we didn’t like about the northeast -- traffic, long commutes, big crowds, living with a tight budget, barely seeing your children, etc. We found the Jewish community to have everything we needed for day-to-day Jewish life, including a yeshiva from K to 12th grade, established shuls, plenty of kosher food, and nice people who we knew would become good friends.
What clinched your decision to move here?
We met many families, and they were friendly, accomplished, interesting people with similar ideals and values. Furthermore, our quality of life would be much better than in Boston or New York.
What do you do professionally?
Danielle is a dermatologist, and Yehoshua is a cardiac electrophysiologist.
How old are your children and where do they go to school?
We have 3 boys, ages 8, 6, and 3, and 1 girl, who is almost 1. Our oldest boys attend the Margolin Hebrew Academy (MHA). Our youngest boy is currently at the Memphis JCC early childhood center and will start the MHA preschool in the fall. We are very happy with the education they are getting so far! We attribute this to the excellent teachers and relatively small class sizes at the MHA.
What do you like best about Memphis and/or what makes it different or better than other places that you have lived?
We are busy, working parents of young children. We want to raise our children in a good Jewish community with menschlechkeit people and a Torah environment. We want to be there for our children and be involved with their day-to-day lives. We want to be successful professionals where we can make a difference in our respective professional communities. We want to save money and live comfortably. Memphis is one of the best places in the country to do these things.
How do you manage being far away from family?
We are very close with all our family. Living in Boston for many years got us used to living “out of town,” where you can’t just show up for dinner at your cousins’ house and then go home. However, we have been and continue to be very close with our family. They visit us and we visit them on average every 8 weeks. We have already been to the NY/NJ area three times this calendar year. We have another visit coming up. We travel for yom tov and family simchas. The only challenge is the cost of flights, but that is counterbalanced many times over by all the extra savings we have by living in such an affordable city.
Where are your favorite places to go in Memphis with or without your kids?
We are a very active family and Memphis has countless activities nearby. Every Sunday we find new Tennessee parks for hiking, new states to explore like Mississippi and Arkansas, or go to the zoo, botanical gardens, seasonal fruit picking, festivals dedicated to music, rocks and gems etc. We also love spending time at the JCC year round, in the spring and summer, the JCC's incredible water park as well as our backyard swimming pool with diving boards! Come visit!! Well make a swim and BBQ party, as long as you apply sunblock!