RESOURCES FOR NEW RESIDENTS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

In a typical year, we love to host people who are thinking about moving to the Cambridge/Somerville (colloquially known as Camberville) Jewish community for Shabbat and answer all of their questions! Given that COVID-19 has made in-person visits impossible, we’ve provided answers to some common questions below. We also encourage you to peruse this website for lots of additional information.

 

Additionally, members of our community are happy to speak with you and answer any questions not addressed here, both one on one and at a Zoom meet & greet/Q&A session. Please fill out the contact form and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll connect you with someone in your demographic to provide pertinent information about local resources and put you on the list for the meet & greet/Q&A.

Why Cambridge/Somerville?

Camberville has a welcoming and inclusive Modern Orthodox community that brings together single and married professionals; young families; and students at Harvard, MIT, and other nearby universities. The community is centered around the Orthodox Minyan at Harvard Hillel (although most attendees are not affiliated with the university), offering daily minyanim year-round; frequent learning opportunities; regular social events; and weekly kiddush, seudah shlishit, and Tot Shabbat services. We pride ourselves on encouraging growth in religious knowledge and expression for all; we are non-judgmental and diverse, with an intellectual bent and friendly vibe.

 

Camberville is a hip, quirky place to live, with myriad cultural opportunities, educational institutions, historical landmarks, and public parks. Cambridge boasts of having the lowest residential tax rate in the state, and was rated as the #1 most walkable city in the US. We are an easy commute via bicycle or public transportation to jobs in downtown Boston and Kendall Square, an international hub of tech and biotech. 

 

Our growing community has many Jewish resources:

  • Most of Cambridge and much of Somerville is surrounded by a large eruv.

  • Kosher products such as meat and wine are easily available locally, and we are home to three locations of JP Licks, Boston’s world-renowned kosher ice cream chain.

  • We are a 15 minute drive, 30 minute bus ride, and 20 minute bike ride from Boston’s kosher supermarket, Judaica stores, and most of the area’s kosher restaurants.

  • There are five Jewish preschool locations across Camberville, and we are in close proximity to all of Boston’s K-12 day schools.

Housing

Finding Roommates and Existing Shared Apartments

There are several Jewish Facebook groups and email listservs where people post in search of roommates, including:

 

 

Finding Your Own Apartment

There are many resources available for those looking to start a new shared apartment or live on their own.

 

Zillow and Trulia are great places to start. There are also local real estate offices that work with renters (including Apartment Rental Experts, Cambridge Realty Group, Windsor Realty, Cambridge Realty, Bayside Realty, Oxford Street Realty and others). Most leases in Camberville require a broker’s fee and a refundable security deposit, both typically 1 month’s rent.

 

Choosing a Neighborhood

People come to the Orthodox Minyan at Harvard Hillel from all over Camberville as well as from neighboring Allston, which is an easy walk across the Charles River but not in the eruv.

 

Most Hillel regulars live in the Cambridge neighborhoods Mid-Cambridge, Riverside, and Cambridgeport (near Harvard Square and Central Square); Inman Square on the Cambridge/Somerville border; and the Somerville neighborhood Union Square. Many others live in the Cambridge neighborhoods The Port, Wellington-Harrington, Agassiz, the eastern parts of Neighborhood Nine and West Cambridge, and the Somerville neighborhood Spring Hill. (For Cambridge neighborhoods see this map, and for Somerville neighborhoods see this map.)

 

For ease of commuting, many people choose to live near the MBTA Red Line, which goes through Cambridge to downtown Boston. The Harvard Square, Central Square, and Porter Square stops are all within walking distance of Harvard Hillel. Kendall Square (home to many tech and biotech companies) is a short walk from several neighborhoods and bikeable from most locations in Camberville.

 

Those commuting west of the city by car on the Mass Pike (I-90) are advised to look for homes close to the highway entrance, in Cambridgeport or Riverside, to avoid rush-hour traffic on Cambridge streets.

 

Parking

Public transportation is easy to use in Greater Boston, but some people choose to have cars. On-street permit parking is available in most neighborhoods and is low cost ($25-50 per year).  More information can be found at the following links:

 

Kosher Products

Check out our Kosher page for lots of information on kosher food in Camberville and Greater Boston. Some information on specific products:

  • Kosher poultry is available at all Trader Joe’s locations and some Whole Foods locations (call to confirm). Trader Joe’s sometimes carries kosher beef as well.

  • Kosher cheeses are available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. 

  • Most liquor stores carry at least a few different bottles of kosher wine, and some have larger selections (Cellar Wine & Spirits, 991 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, carries 10+ different bottles). The Trader Joe’s locations in Allston and Assembly (see below) carry kosher wine.

  • Challah is available reliably at all Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations, Market Basket, and JP Licks in Harvard Square on Wednesday-Friday. Some Star Market locations carry challah (call to confirm).

  • Kosher packaged bread is available at all local supermarkets.

 

The Butcherie, Brookline’s kosher grocery store, delivers to Cambridge and Somerville with a $100 minimum. 

 

Local Supermarkets

Mainstream supermarkets:

  • Market Basket (400 Somerville Ave, Somerville; Union Square)

  • Star Market (275 Beacon Street, Somerville; Agassiz/Spring Hill/Porter Sq)

  • Star Market (49 White Street, Cambridge; Porter Sq)

  • Star Market (370 Western Ave, Allston) *kosher bakery

  • Star Market (1065 Commonwealth Ave, Boston) *kosher bakery

  • Stop & Shop (60 Everett Street, Allston) *kosher bakery *kosher meat/poultry

 

Specialty supermarkets:

  • Trader Joe’s (748 Memorial Drive, Cambridge; Cambridgeport)

  • Trader Joe’s (199 North Harvard Street, Allston) *kosher wine

  • Trader Joe’s (145 Middlesex Ave, Somerville; Assembly) *kosher wine

  • Trader Joe’s (211 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge; Alewife)

  • Whole Foods Market (340 River Street, Cambridge; Cambridgeport) *kosher wine

  • Whole Foods Market (115 Prospect Street, Cambridge; Mid-Cambridge/Central Sq)

  • Whole Foods Market (45 Beacon Street, Somerville; Inman Square)

  • Whole Foods Market (200 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge; Alewife)

  • H Mart (581 Mass Ave, Cambridge; Central Sq) (Asian food products and produce)

  • Pemberton Farms (2225 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge; Porter Sq)

Neighborhood supermarkets:

  • Broadway Marketplace (468 Broadway, Cambridge; Mid-Cambridge/Harvard Sq)

  • Target (564 Mass Ave, Cambridge; Central Sq) (small grocery section)

  • Wholesome Fresh (60 Church Street, Cambridge; Harvard Sq)

The Orthodox Minyan at Harvard Hillel is a welcoming community rooted in Modern Orthodox values serving students, professionals, and young families in Cambridge and Somerville.

For service times, please click here.

52 Mount Auburn Street

Cambridge, MA 02138