Rachel and Joel Siegel
(Moved to Memphis in 2004)
Where did you grow up?
Rachel grew up in Tampa, FL and Joel grew up in Fair Lawn, NJ.
Where did you live as a couple before Memphis?
Upper West Side, Manhattan
Why did you leave that community?
We were looking for a smaller, friendlier, more affordable Jewish community with a more relaxed lifestyle. We were also looking for excellent training programs—a pediatrics residency for Joel and an occupational therapy program for Rachel.
What attracted you to Memphis?
We visited Memphis twice, the first time to explore professional opportunities and the second time to familiarize ourselves with the Jewish community.
What clinched your decision to move here?
We were very impressed with our professional training opportunities and the Jewish community. The people we met were friendly, welcoming and happy living in Memphis. We committed to living in Memphis for the three years of our training programs. Fifteen years later we are thrilled with our decision.
What do you do professionally?
Joel is a board certified general pediatrician in a private pediatrics group with a two minute commute. Rachel is a licensed occupational therapist and a certified hand therapist.
How old are your children and where do they go to school?
We have four children, ages 14, 12, 10 and 8. They all attended the excellent Memphis Jewish Community Center preschool and are now all receiving a superb education at the Margolin Hebrew Academy.
What do you like best about Memphis and/or what makes it different or better than other places that you have lived?
The incredible sense of community differentiates Memphis from any other place we've lived. We all truly care about each other and will do anything possible to assist anyone at anytime. In addition, the quality of life is excellent. Our jobs, school, synagogues, and JCC are all minutes from home. Real estate is extremely affordable, even if you want to live very close to synagogues. The school is extremely warm and friendly and possesses a family-like environment to it. Most importantly, we feel that our kids are getting an excellent education in general studies, Torah studies and Jewish values, including a love for Israel and an understanding of what it means to be part of a community.
How do you manage being far away from family?
We have found that the other young Memphis families, especially those without family here, all assist each other with carpools, shopping and babysitting which makes life much easier and creates a closer community approaching that of a second family.
Where are your favorite places to go in Memphis with and without your kids?
The JCC is our favorite place and our home away from home with our kids. At the JCC, our children play on numerous sports teams, we spend many hours at the amazing water park, hang out with friends, paint in the art room, watch performances in the theater and attend numerous programs. We also enjoy the Memphis Zoo, the Greenline bike trail, the Shelby Farms playground and FedEx Forum events including monster trucks, Grizzlies basketball games and ice shows.
Without our kids, we enjoy Broadway shows at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis and the annual professional tennis tournament held only a few blocks from the heart of the Jewish community.