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Auto-Free in Jewish Atlanta

The purpose of this site is to show visitors to (and residents of) Atlanta how to reach Jewish destinations without a car.

This page was updated in early October 2002.

Metropolitan Atlanta is far more auto-dominated and auto-dependent than most northern metro areas. Nevertheless, Atlanta has several public transportation systems: the largest are Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and Cobb Community Transit (CCT). (Clayton County and Gwinnett County recently created tiny bus systems; however, neither system's routes serve synagogues or other Jewish destinations). MARTA serves Fulton and DeKalb County (the area's two most urbanized counties), while CCT serves Cobb County. Both systems serve numerous synagogues and other Jewish destinations. MARTA has a bus system and two train lines serving a variety of destinations in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.

JEWISH DESTINATIONS AND HOW TO REACH THEM WITHOUT A CAR


SYNAGOGUES

Most readers of this web page will probably be more interested in synagogue locations than anything else. I have listed synagogues by their ideological leanings. I have also rated synagogues' transit accessibility (with special attention to Friday nights and Saturdays) as follows:

4 stars- within a few blocks of a rail stop, or on the 23 (Peachtree) bus (Atlanta's best bus route, because it runs every 10-20 min. even during nights and weekends if traffic permits)
3 stars- Late night bus service but a rider may have to wait 30-60 min. between stops
2 stars- somewhat more limited night service, or a long walk to a bus stop, or just too far away from Atlanta's urban core for people who don't live in the neighborhood.
1 star- very limited bus service or located in an very pedestrian-unfriendly environment.

In addition, I rate synagogues by size: Huge, Large, Medium, Small. This is because some of you probably like intimacy, while others fear it.

(I haven't bothered to rate other destinations because most non-synagogue destinations are open only during weekdays when transit service everywhere is relatively good).

Orthodox

LaVista Road synagogues (3 stars): Beth Jacob (1855 LaVista/Large), Young Israel of Toco Hills (2074 LaVista/Small) and the Sephardic Ner Hamizrach (1858 LaVista/Small). (A tiny Iranian-oriented mini-shul, Netzach Israel, meets at 1528 Sheffield just north of LaVista). Beth Jacob is the largest of these shuls. These shuls are served primarily by the 30 bus that starts at the Lindbergh MARTA rail station (hereinafter "MARTA station") and runs up and down LaVista Rd. In addition, the 6, 33 and 48 buses serve the corner of Briarcliff and LaVista a few blocks to the west.   The 33 bus does not operate on Sundays, and the 48 bus does not serve this area on Sundays.  LaVista has sidewalks between Briarcliff and North Druid Hills, but not west of Briarcliff. 
(P.S. If you go to Ner Hamizrach, bring your own yarmulke; they aren't big enough to have a supply. This may be true of the Iranian shul as well--I haven't been there but I suspect it is even smaller).

Anshei Chesed (5280 High Point Road in Sandy Springs/Small)-This new shul is an offshoot of Beth Tefillah (below) and, like Beth Tefillah, is served by the 41 bus, and to a lesser extent by the 5 bus. Unlike Beth Tefillah, this mini-shul is not (despite its High Point address) directly on High Point. Instead, go to High Point and Greenland (a block south of Northland), and walk about 10 or 20 feet on Greenland to the house at 5280. Also, be aware that this shul is too small for complimentary yarmulkes, tallit, etc. so bring your own.

Anshi Sfard (1324 N. Highland/Small)(3 stars)- on the 16 route running from downtown Atlanta to the Virginia-Highlands area.

Beth Tefillah (5065 High Point Road in Sandy Springs/Medium) (1 star)- during weekdays, not all that inaccessible: this shul is on the 41 route that runs between the Brookhaven and Medical Center MARTA stations during the week.  But on Saturdays, the 41 does NOT serve this area.  Instead, you have to walk about 3/4 mile on Forest Hills (a street with no sidewalks) from Roswell (served by the 5 bus) to High Point.  This shul uses Hasidic liturgy which differs slightly from the garden-variety Orthodox liturgy.

Chabad Intown (928 Ponce de Leon/Small) (3 stars)- on the 2 bus route running north from the North Ave. MARTA station.

Congregation Ariel (5237 Tilly Mill Rd. in Dunwoody/Small) (2 stars)- on the 132 route running north from the Chamblee MARTA station on weekdays, and on the 135 route (also running north from Chamblee) on Saturdays.  No real Sunday service to speak of, unless you want to walk a couple of miles from Peachtree Industrial (served by the 25 bus).

Traditional

B'nai Torah (700 Mt. Vernon Hwy. in Sandy Springs/Medium) (2 stars)-  A 20 minute walk (2/3 mile or so) west of the new Sandy Springs MARTA station. Most of Mt. Vernon (but not all) has sidewalks (the part that doesn't has a walkable grass path).   Unfortunately, no bus is significantly closer than the Sandy Springs station.   The 5 and 87 buses (running down Hammond to Barfield) are a similar distance from B'Nai Torah.

Or VeShalom (1681 North Druid Hills/Medium) (3 stars)- a 20 minute walk on N. Druid Hills from the Brookhaven MARTA station. Or VeShalom is a couple of blocks north of the corner of N. Druid Hills and Roxboro (served by the 48 route that serves the Lenox and Inman Park rail stops on every day but Sunday) and is also on the weekday-only 8 bus route. Unlike most Atlanta synagogues, Or VeShalom adopts Sephardic liturgy. However, the differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazic liturgy are pretty minor to the untrained eye. (Ashkenazic Jews are of Central and East European origin, while Sephardic Jews are of Mediterranean origin).
 
Shaarei Shamayim (1810 Briarcliff Rd./Small) (3 stars) - This new Traditional synagogue is on the 6, 16 and 48 routes. (The latter route does not serve this area on Sunday).

Conservative

Ahavath Achim (600 Peachtree Battle at the corner of Northside and Peachtree Battle/Very Large) (2 stars)- on the weekday-only 44 bus route (running from the Lindbergh MARTA station). Also half a mile east of the corner of Peachtree Battle and Howell Mill (served by the 12 route; there are no sidewalks on this side of Peachtree Battle but there is a walkable grass path) and a mile west of the corner of Peacthree Battle and Peachtree (served by the 23 route that runs between the Lenox and Arts Center MARTA stations; there are sidewalks on the south side of Peachtree Battle in this area, as well as a grass median in the middle of Peachtree Battle).

Beth Shalom (5303 Winters Chapel Road in Dunwoody/Medium) (1 star)- You can take the bus here with only moderate difficulty, but taking it back is not so easy. Here's why: the 25 bus goes from the Chamblee rail station to the corner of Winters Chapel and Peeler, only 1/2 mile from the synagogue (although part of the route lacks sidewalks). But the 25 bus does not (except before noon) stop at the same intersection when it heads southbound towards Chamblee. Instead, it starts to run at the corner of Tilly Mill and Peachtree Industrial, over a mile away. So as a practical matter this shul is only transit-accessible for a morning minyan, unless you are a real athlete.

Etz Chaim (1190 Indian Hills Pkwy. in east Cobb/Large) (1 star)- On Roswell Rd., served by the 60 and 65 CCT buses. These buses stop running at around 8 PM on Fridays, but run regularly on Saturday morning. Both buses begin at the Marietta transfer center near downtown Marietta and go eastward from there, terminating at the eastern fringe of Cobb County.

North Fulton Jewish Center (4320 Kimball Bridge Road in Alpharetta/Small) (1 star)- Just off North Point Parkway, served by 140 bus running from North Springs station.
 
Shearith Israel (1180 University Drive/Medium) (3 stars)- on the 45 route that runs from North Avenue into Morningside (though not on Sundays), and also a few blocks from Highland (on the 16 route) and E. Rock Springs (on the 36 route).   (Shearith Israel's web site still describes Shearith Israel as Traditional, but it will soon affiliate with the Conservative movement).

Reconstructionist

Bet Haverim (701 W. Howard Ave. in Decatur/Small) (4 stars)- This congregation, which bills itself as "A Reconstructionist Synagogue Founded For Lesbians and Gay Men, Embracing All Jews and Loved Ones", is a few blocks east of the East Lake MARTA station and is also on the 123 bus route (running from the Decatur MARTA station to the Candler Park station).

Lev Shalem (Small)(1 star due to dangerous pedestrian environment)-Meets once a month at a Congregationalist church at 2676 Clairmont on the 19 route (running from Brookhaven to Decatur). Also near the corner of Clairmont and Briarcliff, served by the 33 bus as well as the 19.  (The 33 has no Sunday service, though this fact is less of a problem for Lev Shalem than for traditional or larger congregations).  Although the church is somewhat transit accessible, to reach it from Clairmont one would have to walk up a long, wooded driveway with no sidewalk or grass path to walk on --so pedestrians have to share the driveway with cars speeding to the church.

Reform

Bnai Dorot (4025 Windward Plaza, Alpharetta) (1 stars)- About a 25-minute walk from the Windward Park and Ride lot in Alpharetta, served by the 85, 140 and 143 buses.  The congregation meets in the Hilton Garden Inn, just off Windward Parkway -- so from the park and ride, walk to North Point, then walk a few yards north to the corner of North Point and Windward, then start walking east on Windward Parkway until you reach Windward Plaza and the hotel.   Windward has sidewalks on one side of the street, though the absence of any evidence of humanity other than huge office parks makes this an unpleasant walk in my view.

Kehillat Chaim (1145 Green Street in Roswell/Medium) and Temple Beth Tikvah (9955 Coleman Road in Roswell/Small) (2 stars)- both a few blocks west of Alpharetta St./South Atlanta Rd. in downtown Roswell (the street begins as South Atlanta and becomes Alpharetta St.), served by the 85 bus that runs north from the North Springs MARTA station to Alpharetta (the suburb, not the street).

To reach either synagogue, get off the 85 at the corner of Canton and Alpharetta. To reach Kehillat Chaim, walk a few blocks up Canton to Green St. then go right on Green. To reach Beth Tikvah, go a block or so to Magnolia, then turn on Magnolia, and walk a few blocks west till you reach Coleman.

Kol Emeth (1415 Old Canton Road in east Cobb/Large) (1 star)- a block or two north of Roswell, served by the 60 and 65 CCT routes (which, as noted above, stop running at around 8 PM).

The Temple (1589 Peachtree/Very Large) (4 stars)- one of the area's most transit accessible synagogues--on the 23 bus route (which runs between the Arts Center and Lenox train stops every 20 minutes or less even on weekends, and every 5-12 minutes during the week) and half a mile from the Arts Center rail stop.

Unaffiliated

Shema Yisrael (4549 Chamblee-Dunwoody in Jewish Family & Career Services/Small) (2 stars). This mini-congregation has both Reform and Conservative services, depending on the time of day. During the week, Shema Yisrael is served by the 129 bus running between the Chamblee and North Springs MARTA stations.  On Saturdays, take the 135 bus to Shallowford & Peeler, walk a short block on Peeler to Chamblee-Dunwoody, then walk on Chamblee-Dunwoody about 1/4 mile.  On Sundays, no real service.
 
I also note that one Humanistic congregation, Kol Chaim, meets in people's homes (usually in Northeast DeKalb County not far from the LaVista synagogues listed above), call Dave Savage at (404) 634-8686 for information.
 
KOSHER GROCERIES
 
Kosher groceries are available at numerous grocery stores in metro Atlanta.  However, the most ample selections of kosher groceries are at Quality Kosher (at the corner of Briarcliff and LaVista, served by the 6, 30, 33 and 48 buses) and the Kroger at the corner of North Druid Hills and LaVista (served by the 8 and 30 buses).   Outside the Toco Hills area, grocery stores in Morningside, Sandy Springs and (to a lesser extent) Buckhead tend to have more kosher supplies than other stores.


DAY SCHOOLS

Alfred & Adele Davis Academy (8105 Roberts Drive in Dunwoody) (Reform)- A couple of blocks north of the corner of Roberts and Spalding, served on weekdays (though not on weekends) by the 150 bus that runs north from the Dunwoody MARTA stop.

Greenfield Hebrew Academy (5200 Northland Drive in Sandy Springs) (Unaffiliated)- just off High Point, served on weekdays by the 41 bus that runs between the Brookhaven and Medical Center MARTA stations. Probably the most transit-accessible of the larger Jewish day schools.

New Atlanta Jewish Community High School (2012 Womack Rd. in Dunwoody) (Unaffiliated)- Just off Tilly Mill Rd., served by the 132 bus running north from the Chamblee rail stop. (The same area is served by the 135 bus on nights and Saturdays).

Temima High School for Girls (1935 LaVista Road) (Orthodox)-Served by the 30 bus.

Torah Day School of Atlanta (1959 LaVista Road) (Orthodox)- ditto.

Yeshiva Atlanta (3130 Raymond Drive in Doraville) (Orthodox)- about half a mile from the corner of Shallowford (served by the 33 bus) and Chamblee Tucker (served by the 125 and 130 buses). Again, bring a map if you are going here for the first time.

COMMUNITY SERVICES
 
American Jewish Committee, Atlanta office (6 Piedmont Center)- On the 5 bus running north from Lindbergh Center.

Atlanta Jewish Times (6065 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Suite 700)- On Roswell Road, served by the 5 bus running north between the Lindbergh and Dunwoody MARTA stations. Also a block north of Hammond, served by the 148 east-west bus.

Jewish Community Centers- The region's main JCC, at 5342 Tilly Mill Road in Dunwoody, is on the 132 bus route during weekdays, and on the 135 bus route on nights and Saturdays. Both buses run north from the Chamblee MARTA station.

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum (both on 1440 Spring St.)- on 18th and Spring, just two blocks north and one block west of the Arts Center MARTA station.

Jewish Family and Career Services (4549 Chamblee-Dunwoody)- served by the 129 bus running between the Chamblee and North Springs MARTA stations.

Louis Kahn Group Home (1358 Markan Drive)- off University near Shearith Israel, served by the 45 bus. Also off E. Rock Springs, served by the 36 bus.

William Breman Jewish Home (3150 Howell Mill) and Jewish Tower (3160 Howell Mill)- served by the 12 bus running from the Midtown rail stop to the city of Atlanta's outer edges.

PLACES WITHOUT TRANSIT ACCESS: Synagogues that are more than a mile from the nearest bus stop, at least during basic Shabbat service hours-

Temple Sinai (5645 Dupree Drive, Sandy Springs, Reform)- About 1/3 mile from Powers Ferry (served by 148 bus) but unfortunately the 148 does not run on nights and weekends. The closest full service bus, the 5, serves Roswell Rd. about 3 miles away.

Beth David (1885 McGee Rd. in Snellville, Reform) and Shir Shalom (3258 Duluth Hwy. in Duluth, Reform)- located in Gwinnett County, which has no intracounty transit service as of 2001.

Chabad of Alpharetta (5115 Abbots Bridge, Alpharetta, Orthodox)- About 4 miles east of North Point Pkwy. and Kimball Bridge, served by the 140 bus.

Bais Chayenu (4450 Lower Roswell Rd., East Cobb, Orthodox)- mile or so from Johnson Ferry and Lower Roswell, served by the 60 CCT bus. But the 60 only runs during rush hour. To get to Bais Chayenu later, you would have to take the 65 CCT bus to Johnson Ferry and Roswell, then walk a couple of miles south on Johnson Ferry to Lower Roswell, then walk half a mile west on Lower Roswell. .

Bnai Israel (Ga. 54 and Corinth Road, Fayetteville/Small)- Located in Fayette County, which as of 2002 has no public transit service.
 
Emanu-El (1580 Spalding Drive in Dunwoody/Large) (1 star)- About half a mile east of the corner of Roberts and Spalding, served by the 150 bus that runs north from the Dunwoody MARTA station. Low rating because no sidewalks on Spalding, and homeowners' shrubs sometimes make it hard to walk on grass. More importantly, the 150 only stops this far north on weekdays during the daytime; at nights (starting around 6 PM) and weekends it goes to Dunwoody Village Pkwy. about a mile further south.

Nefesh Yehudi (3341 Berkshire Bend, Conyers)- in Rockdale County, which has no transit service.

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