By Cheri F Rosen
The Club at Emerald Hills once rated by the USGA and the South Florida Business Journal as the #1 rated golf course in the State of Florida, is centrally located between Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami in the city of Hollywood, Florida. It is greatly due to this centralized location that Orthodox Hollywood gained its popularity.
When one refers to the Orthodox community of Hollywood, in general, they are referring to the neighborhood known as Emerald Hills, and more specifically the homes both within and surrounding the golf course. If you search on a map for this section of South Florida, you will find that the entire Emerald Hills community comprises an area of less than one square mile.
Although the heart of Orthodox Hollywood lies within the boundaries set by Stirling Road on its north and the long water feature at the south of the course, and between North Park Road and North 56th Street as its east and west borders, it has expanded greatly in recent years. As the population continues to grow exponentially, the community now includes such neighborhoods to the north as Arapahoe Farms, The Preserve, Forest Park, and Hollywood Oaks. Even farther north, extending almost all the way to Griffin Road, the developments of Mapleridge and Oakridge are populated by many members of the Young Israel of Hollywood.
Also, north of Stirling closer to the Brauser Maimonides Academy (BMA) on North 40th Street (which is the continuation of North 56th Street south of Stirling) are the beautiful properties surrounding Shady Oak Lane and Woodland Lane just north of Merkaz Ahavat Yisrael, the Young Israel of West Hollywood, and B’nai Sephardim Synagogue.
Hollywood, which began to grow in the 1980s with just one Ashkenaz shul and a small group of families, was soon better known as a center for Israeli expatriates and the more Modern Orthodox alternative to its neighbors to the north and southeast. However, recent years have seen a surge in growth of all facets of the population, welcoming increasing numbers of charedim to its community as well. Today, regardless of the comfort level of Orthodoxy with which you identify, Hollywood has at least a minyan or two from which you may choose.
Although a huge segment of the population, more than 650 families, remain loyal to the original Young Israel of Hollywood and its beloved and respected rabbanim such as Rabbi Yosef Weinstock and Rabbi Edward Davis, Rabbi emeritus and Sephardic minyan rabbi, moving farther away and finding a nearby minyan is never a problem. Beis Medresh Heichal HaTorah is a perfect example. Just formed one year ago (North Hills and 51st), Heichel, under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Schreck, is truly a thriving Makom Torah. With over 100 members and counting, Heichel offers a variety of chaburot learning well into the night, every night.
All in all, in this rather intimate square mile segment, of the greater Fort Lauderdale region, known as Hollywood, more than a dozen Orthodox shuls exist. No less than three Chabads, two Young Israels (which includes the satellite YI of West Hollywood), several Sephardic minyans, newly formed and extremely popular shuls, shtiebels, and even large backyard pop-up minyanim are all overflowing while trying to manage the recent wave of immigration.
The schools, as well, are bursting at the seams with BMA currently waitlisting students at every grade level according to Rabbi Fein in a recent article about Hollywood growth and popularity.
With many more kosher food markets opening in recent months as well as eateries that line Stirling Road from east to west, Hollywood residents no longer need to venture to Adventura, Miami Beach, or Surfside for shopping or dining.
With a very different vibe than Boca Raton, its nearest Orthodox community to the north, Hollywood has become a very desirable destination not just for new Floridian immigrants from the Northeast, but prior to COVID, it had gained huge popularity among former Miami residents who had been outpriced by the real estate market in both Miami Beach and Bal Harbour. But, of course, that was then, when we still had pre-pandemic pricing.
Real Estate in Hollywood
The good news is, after more than a year of an incredible lack of inventory, there are once again more than a few houses for sale in Hollywood. The bad news is that they are even more outrageously priced than during the craziness of the last 12 months.
Examining just the single-family houses for sale in the Emerald Hills area, the current median price is between $400 and $500 per square foot. In simple terms, you can expect to pay at least $1,000,000 today for a home that was priced at slightly more than half that amount in 2019.
That’s $1,000,000 for a 2,200 square foot 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom ranch house in Emerald Hills (the heart of the community). However, if you venture a bit north of Stirling to the areas with more land and bigger houses, previously mentioned, such as Arapohoe Farms, Mapleridge, Oakridge, and Hollywood Oaks, or southeast into enclaves such as The Lakes of Emerald Hills, you will be expected to pay well north of $500 per square foot. Most larger homes in these areas have now surpassed the $2,000,000 list price.
For those who are not dealing with exorbitant budgets with which to invest in a Hollywood home, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The area of West Hollywood is attracting many Northeastern transplants and is priced much more reasonably than its eastern neighbor.
Bais Medrash Bais Mordechai has extended the borders of the community further west, south of Stirling and on the other side of 441, State Route 7. Largely as a result of this shul’s special efforts, such as a unique morning learning program, The Kollel Boker, young families desiring to move to Hollywood have found a warm, more affordable, and welcoming home in West Hollywood. Here one finds a morning chaburah where men of various backgrounds start their day learning a masechta together before work. It is around this intimate and friendly shul started by Rabbi Zvi Smith, that the area known as West Hollywood is now beginning to grow. n
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.