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Jan 22, 2007

loving RBS (A)

I promised you a while back that I would write this post. After a number of posts (on this blog and on other blogs) describing some disturbing incidents that had taken place in RBS, some readers asked if there is anything good about RBS, and some of you asked about Israel in general. I mentioned that there is plenty of good in RBS and that I would one day write a post in praise of RBS.

I got caught up with some other issues, and was not really sure where to begin with this one, so it got delayed. I now offer to you this post.

The purpose of this is not to try to convince you to move to RBS or tell you that it is the greatest neighborhood in the world. There are plenty of great neighborhoods and you have to find one that is right for you. Every place, RBS included, has its problems and its benefits. I, and many other blogs, have ranted plenty on the problems of RBS, now is the time for some positive.

RBS is a beautiful neighborhood in the hills of Bet Shemesh. The area is rich with history. I can drive for about 5 minutes or so and get to the location (give or take) where David slew Goliath with his slingshot. Bet Shemesh was the home of many battles between the ancient Israelites and the Philistines. Shimshon lived "just down the block" and a five or six minute drive will take you to his grave, along with to the locations of many of his battles and incidents mentioned in Tanach. That is only a very brief description of the history of the Bet Shemesh area. There is much more.

The location of Ramat Bet Shemesh is very convenient. RBS is comfortably nestled in the hills between jerusalem and Tel Aviv. We have good public transportation, including a train station in BS along with a full range of Egged buses to the major cities. This makes it a prime location for the working class crowd, who can reap the benefits of real estate prices that are lower than Jerusalem but are still within a reasonable commute to jerusalem or Tel Aviv, be it by car or public transport.

The city of Bet Shemesh has expanded tremendously over the past 10 years. It has gone from being a backwater town of about 15,000 to 20,000 people to about 80,000 residents currently (though some people still consider it backwater). Such growth has its problems. City services have a hard time keeping up with the growth but overall the city is beautiful with an abundance of parks and green areas.

Yes, we have our kannoim, but most people are not like that. Most people are normal people just trying to concentrate on doing their own thing, whatever that might be. There is tremendous diversity in Ramat Bet Shemesh. You can find people of all types, which is one of the reasons we moved to RBS nearly 8 years ago. You can find Haredi (of all types), Dati Leumi, Secular. You can find Anglo expats, native Israelis, Ashkenazi Jews, Sefardic Jews, Yemenite jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews. We are practically our own Benneton poster. You can walk down the street and see so many different types of people. Most of the time, nearly all the time, everybody gets along with each other and people have friendships and relationships crossing the cultural differences.
And one of the most exciting and dynamic aspects of this is watching Israel grow. Every time Nefesh B'Nefesh brings a planeload of people to Israel, RBS gets to watch Israel grow, as a nice percentage choose RBS as the place to live. Yet this is also true for olim from other areas, not just America. Russian Jews, French Jews, South African Jews, etc. There are constantly new building projects going up to fill the needs of the throngs of people moving to Israel. We literally watch the rebirth of Eretz Yisrael in front of our eyes on a daily basis.

That diversity of people creates a diversity in religious and social services. For every type of person living in RBS there is a shul in the neighborhood (and often more than one) catering to his style, including some who try to cater and attract all of the types together! We have a matnas (community center) with a full range of activities that kids can take advantage of. There is a wide variety of schools to choose from, each with its own style and attraction.

There are tremendous capabilities for growth. We have tremendous talmidei chachamim (scholars) in the neighborhood, alongside phenomenal Rabbonim, along with highly educated people in the secular studies. There is every possible type of shiur you could be looking for.

There is a great shopping center with practically every type of store you could possibly need for your day to day life, ensuring that your need to leave the neighborhood is minimal. Practically everything you could possibly need is within a few minutes of your house. We have as many eruvin and mikvaot as you could possibly try to rely on, to accomodate the demands and needs of different types of people.

Sure, we have our problems. What neighborhood doesn't? Rantings generally are more interesting to write, read and fight about, so they get more press time. Don't take the rantings of us bloggers as a sign that all is foul in RBS. Things are generally great.

And we will welcome you with open arms if you do choose to move to Israel, and RBS in particular.


  1. What many people dont know is that RBS is on the site of ancient Yarmut. This is very interesting for many reasons, among them: Yarmut certainly had a wall around it while Yehoshua was eating Shwarma in Jericho.



    NOTE: After much research, it seems to me that there were no mehadrin horse n' buggy routes, mehadrin medical services, or even mehadrin restaurants in ancient Yarmut.

  2. thank you for a more positive post than the rest of what most people are blogging. nice change of pace.

  3. I think we may also have one of the highest per-capita rates of bloggers and posters for English blogs (except for possibly Efrat).

    BTW, DA: is your real name AE?

  4. Mike - he will not answer you...

    ift - great. If you do, let me know (unless you prefer to remain anonymous.. :-) )

  5. RBS also has a "Mishmeret Har HaBayit", that goes up to Har HaBayit on the 7th of every Hebrew month and visits the halachically permissible areas in tahara.

    RBS was also the locale for a recent conference on the Talmud HaYerushalmi hosted by Machon Shilo (www.machonshilo.org).

  6. thanks for the post.

    the real proof that rbs is not as bad as people make it to be is not even to be found in the post itself. rather it is reflected in the fact that you did not get a host of commentors bashing it and accusing you of cover-ups.


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