First is that local teenager Elior Babian was joint winner of the International Bible Quiz. You can watch the video of the final at this link (the questions start about 3 minutes in). I was interested to note that two out of the final questions were about Biblical zoology!
The victory for Elior Babian was especially moving for many of us Bet Shemesh residents who are aware of the extraordinarily difficult challenges that he and his family face. Please read this article at the Times of Israel to learn more, and follow the link to help.
On another note, while many outsiders view Bet Shemesh as some kind of war zone, the reality is that there are several incredible, idyllic neighborhoods. One of the most sought-after such areas is Ramat Shilo, based around Yeshivat Lev HaTorah where I teach. I'm pleased to announce that two new communities are being planned on the same model - one of them is just a few dozen yards from my house. Here's the formal announcement that was sent out from Yeshivat Lev HaTorah:
The Month of Iyar is a spiritually charged time period of building and preparation. While counting Sefirat HaOmer each day, step by step toward Matan Torah, we are strengthening our love and connection to Am Yisrael to remember and mourn the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva. We are in a month of Binyan Eretz Yisrael, during which when Shlomo HaMelech laid the foundations for the Beit HaMikdash. It is a time that we thank Hashem for Kibbutz Galuyot – as we celebrate the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in our Homeland on Yom Haatzmaut, as well as the reunification of the Holy City on Yom Yerushalayim.
In the spirit of Binyan Eretz Yisrael and Ahavat HaTorah we have embarked on another new, exciting community building project in Ramat Beit Shemesh!
The initiative, called “Lev HaRama” aims to replicate the successful concept of Ramat Shilo – of creating a neighborhood model based around a Torah institution and community. In “Ramat HaRo'eh” (named in honor of The Roe’h, Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, zt’l) and “Givat Shilo” we aim to create a vibrant, growth oriented and Torani community in a beautiful new area of Ramat Beit Shemesh.
We are working with experienced realtors and contractors, and have obtained exclusive rights to build and market an array of attractive, high quality and competitively priced homes, apartments, duplexes, and cottages.
Dozens of families have already committed to joining us in developing our vision for creating a comfortable, warm Religious Zionist Torani community, and will enjoy all the advantages of living in an established city – schools, stores and the convenience of the location between Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv, with the unique opportunity to help build and shape a Kehillah from the ground up.
Please check out our video below and updated information on Facebook/LevHaRama & Twitter: @LevHaRama
There is no better time than now to take the next step in your Aliyah!
Rav Boaz Mori
Rosh Yeshivat Lev HaTorah
Rav Judah Mischel
Director, Lev HaRama
(If you're reading this by email, then as usual, you'll have to head over to www.rationalistjudaism.com in order to see the video below)