The west coast of Florida is known for beautiful sunsets, clear water, and warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa is attracting financial and tech companies like Chase Bank, so the jobs are already there. Located about three hours west from South Florida and about an 90 minutes from Orlando. But that is all about to change. Bridghline has announced plans to connect the Miami to Tampa with high-speed rail service by 2028. Rail service is already near completion to Orlando, Florida, expected to start service in early 2023.
All of the ingredients are in place for the community to grow. In the past the Jewish community had been growing slowly and steadily, mostly non religious or non-affiliated, but that is changing with higher house prices in South Florida and Orlando, Tampa, while not cheap, is more affordable right now. There are three Jewish schools in Tampa the Hillel Academy affiliated with the JCC, Hebrew Academy affiliated with Chabad, and the latest Tampa Torah Academy serving the orthodox community. There are also preschools located at the Chabad, Torah Academy, Hillel, and the JCC south campus. Tampa has Chabad five Centers/Synagogues, a Young Israel, two Conservative Synagogues Congregation Kol Ami and Congregation Mekor Shalom, the Reform Congregation Schaarai Zedek, serving 1,200 families in the Tampa Bay area and Congregation Beth Am.
The Young Israel of Tampa has a community eruv (see website), and the Chabad at UCF are located nearby. Mikvah Israel Chabad - Tampa Bay & Central Florida is located at the Chabad of Central Forida. Kosher food is available at the Winn Dixie which features a kosher deli and bakery. Restaurants and takeout include Kosher Tampa, providing glatt kosher prepared foods, Milk N' Honey has pizza takeout, ordering is required, and David's Glatt Kosher Deli with sit down restaurant and prepared meals for takeout. The Young Israel of Tampa has a page dedicated to people looking to view the community and information on nearby lodging.
Tampa is located on the Gulf of Mexico, Central West Florida. Like most of Florida there's plenty of shopping nearby including Costco, Wal-Mart, and plenty of shopping malls. Theme parks in Tampa include Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Zoo Tamps, Grand-Prix Tampa, and Dinosaur World. There are plenty of city and state parks, as well as miles of beaches. Highways include Highway 275, Interstate 75 (Atlanta), Highway 4 (to Orlando). Tampa International Airport is located just West of all of the Jewish communities. Universities include the University of Tampa, University of Central Florida (Tampa Campus). There is rail service from Miami and West Palm Beach, however, it currently takes nearly 8 hours today (High Speed Rail estimated in 2028), bus service is anywhere from 7-11 hours depending on express or not.
There was word (before Corona) that a community was being build just north of the city for 2,500 homes for Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families. We are waiting to hear back from the developers regarding their plans post-Covid.
Special thank you to Malki A. of Tampa, for your recent update.