By Cheri F Rosen
Century Village East—Deerfield Beach
Less than 3½ miles from the famous Deerfield Pier, and the beautiful Boca and North Broward beaches it overlooks, H. Irwin Levy had purchased 750 acres of land in which to expand on his vision. Buoyed by the extraordinary demand and signs of overwhelming success of Century Village West Palm Beach, he immediately got back to work developing CVE—Century Village East, commonly referred to as Century Village of Deerfield Beach.
While barely able to keep up with an aggressive timeframe delivering condominiums 40 minutes northwest, in Palm Beach County, Levy wasted no time capitalizing on his recent astonishing achievement. As the new decade of the 1970s arrived, Levy broke ground just south of the Palm Beach County border in Northern Broward County to commence building the second of his four largescale retirement communities. Once again, the beloved comedian Red Buttons enticed his legions of fans to “Bring the Catskills to the Sunshine,” thus further enhancing the concept of a resort vacation evolving into a retirement lifestyle.
Witnessing the lure of lavish amenities, CVE was built to contain two clubhouses. The large clubhouse has 145,000 square feet and still today is the center of the CVE social life. After Hurricane Wilma cut a swath right through much of the Village (as well as much of South Florida) including the Clubhouse, the Clubhouse received a total renovation. It is even more spectacular today than when it was first built. It has a theater, a ballroom, a cafe, card rooms, a library, a fitness center, a crafts room, a resort-style swimming pool, and more. The small clubhouse, on the west side of the community, has a ballroom, a catering kitchen, meeting rooms, a swimming pool, and tennis courts. Another 16 swimming pools and nine tennis courts are scattered throughout the community.
Originally CVE included an 18-hole, par-64 golf course. However, after many years of lying dormant with countless suggestions ignored or rejected as how to once again enjoy the fallow acreage in the center of CVE, an innovative plan was finally accepted.
Twenty percent of the former golf course was sold to Toll Brothers, builders of many luxury area developments, such as Azura and Royal Palm Polo in Boca Raton. Sandpiper Pointe, as the new community is named, has its gated entrance on Military Trail, just about ½-mile south of the three Orthodox synagogues that serve Century Village of Deerfield Beach. The 201 two-story, 3-bedroom townhomes ranging from 1,831 to 1,930 square feet within the private development offer additional options for spacious living in a picturesque neighborhood just outside of CVE.
The remaining 80% of the former golf course has been designated by CVE Master Management as Central Park, a magnificent park and waterfront recreational, fitness, and entertainment facility to further enhance the lives of the 8,000 CVE condominium’s residents. On February 9, 2023 the entire Village was invited to celebrate the official ground breaking for Central Park’s phase one, which will include a large putting green, mini golf course, lakeside pavilions and docks while maintaining an ecologically healthy and environmentally sound landscaped natural beauty.
CenClub supports over 100 clubs and organizations annually. While researching this article I was amazed to discover the weekly activities list with myriad choices for every hour of every day. Planned events and group activities keep residents continuously engaged. Book clubs, theater clubs, holiday parties, and card games are always occurring. Classes in a variety of crafts as well as in several different languages are available from sunrise until late in the evening. Dances, parties, and bingo are hosted at the Clubhouse quite often. First run movies are shown several times weekly, with the Fabelmans and Women Talking as well as Abba and Eric Clapton Live Tribute Bands all featured just this coming week! All this and a Saturday night dance and Sunday poolside karaoke too.
Close to 1,000 condominiums are said to be owned by Orthodox residents. Staten Island, Brooklyn, and more recently Queens are all well represented. Many others hail from New Jersey, Cleveland, Chicago, and Canada. Since all three Orthodox shuls are located next to each other northeast of the gate at Military Trail, almost the entire frum community resides within the Associations at the eastern sections of the Village. Like all residential buildings throughout CVE the architecture is comprised of two-story “garden apartments” or four-story “high rises.” Most of the elevators in the “high rises” populated by Orthodox owners are preprogrammed for use on Shabbos. These associations are Ashby, Berkshire (largest), Cambridge (closest), Richmond, Swansea, Upminster, and Westbury. Many first-floor residents have recently been adding patios outside of their units, while there are larger patios adjacent to lakes and green areas for socializing and barbequing. There are even locked kosher grills!
As of this writing there are 170 units in CVE listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, but only 25 are located in any of the associations listed above. The smallest is just under 600 square feet and the largest is 1,200 square feet. Prices range from $99,000 to $349,000.
It is not uncommon for people in the Orthodox community to own more than one unit, but since most buildings no longer allow rentals, it is not as prevalent as it once was. What has become increasingly common however is the rise in the canine population. A “No Paws Policy” in almost every building leaves one rather stymied and surprised as to the sheer number of residents certified to be in need of “four-footed emotional support.”
The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach, aka YIDB, is one of the foremost Orthodox congregations in America and with over 1,000 members, one of the largest on the East Coast. Led by Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, YIDB offers much in education, camaraderie, and inspiration to the community it serves. Sponsoring a vast array of active organizations such as Amit Women, Emunah, The Sisterhood, Circle of Friends, Men’s Club, Bikur Cholim, and numerous gemachs, YIDB has many opportunities for CVE residents to donate time and talent while enjoying an active life.
The Young Israel’s Scholar in Residence program has offered the opportunity of sharing a Shabbat while experiencing the wisdom of some of our most respected and learned visiting rabbis. The Intergenerational Enrichment Center provides several varied avenues to pursue higher learning and education especially utilizing its library of classes and lectures from many of today’s religious leaders. Known for the countless classes and shiurim YIDB provides, its members are particularly proud of the Hebrew Tutoring Program financed with a grant from the Covenant Foundation. Rabbi Dr. Shloss, together with educator Marla Turk, created a fantastic opportunity to provide after school help to youngsters struggling to master the Hebrew language. Realizing that CVE was overflowing with a population of gifted former educators, an educational service to our youngest in need seemed a natural fit. The immensely successful volunteer program is run remotely and is therefore available to young children everywhere.
As a result of the encouragement offered from the Young Israel, and the immense talent pool of emigres from which to draw, the level of chesed emanating from the Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is quite unparalleled.
The Chabad of Deerfield Beach, under the warm and dedicated leadership of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Goldblatt, was founded in 2008 simultaneously with the joint purpose of connecting with all of the Jews of Century Village Deerfield Beach and continuing to share the essence of the responsibility and love engendered by the Chabad philosophy toward every single Jew. The word “Chabad” is a Hebrew acronym for the three intellectual faculties of chochmah—wisdom, binah—comprehension, and da’at—knowledge. The movement’s system of Jewish religious philosophy teaches understanding and recognition of the Creator, the role and purpose of creation, and the importance and unique mission of each creature. As Chabads around the world are there for all our Jewish brethren so too is the Chabad of Deerfield Beach a welcome port in the storm for all the Jews of Deerfield Beach, the observant as well as the unaffiliated.
The Chabad shares two extremely large and popular events in the Clubhouse with YIDB: a seasonal festival during Chanukah, and an off-season celebration of Yom Yerushalyim. Nevertheless, the Chabad is probably best known and most fondly appreciated for all of the yom tov parties and other festivities it so exuberantly hosts throughout the year. Tu B’Shevat and Lag B’Omer events in Quiet Waters Park are especially and fervently anticipated by all, and the Purim festivities and Seudah add the joy to Purim that so many would surely be bereft without.
But perhaps it is the Shabbos morning Kiddush, followed by an inclusive warm and companionable lunch, that is the most cherished event of all of Chabad’s offerings. Populated by many singles, especially widows and widowers, those who attend that weekly seudah feel connected to others in a way that attending meals with families can never quite accomplish.
Started during the COVID lockdown, Khal Anshei Deerfield also known as “The Shtiebel” began in just one storefront in the Plaza next to the Chabad. With a safety population cap of 127, they have already outgrown the second storefront, and are presently in negotiations for a third. During the season, a Shabbos minyan would often find 30–40 people standing throughout Shacharit, even with many of the members attending the Neitz Minyan the Shteibel also offers. Although Yossi Lowey is gabbai, and seemingly everything else in the shul, Yossi credits the generosity of benefactor Ben Wertzberger with founding and supporting Khal Anshei Deerfield.
The Shteibel recently reveled in a hachnases Sefer Torah wherein the members of all three Orthodox shuls joyfully joined together in that meaningful and ebullient simcha.
Based on the model very familiar to those of us hailing from the hallowed halls of Flatbush and Boro Park steiblich, Khal Anshei Deerfield truly brings a bit of Brooklyn to Broward.
Cheri F Rosen, of Lang Realty, has been a realtor in South Florida since moving to Boca Raton over a decade ago. You can learn more about real estate in South Florida by calling Cheri at 561-221-2233 or visiting Cheri’s website: southfloridacondosandhouses.com or just Google the words Orthodox Boca. Cheri’s website is the top search result. Submit your personal questions and concerns to Cheri, and they will be answered personally, or anonymously in future columns.