Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bet Shemesh: Pride and Promise

Last year, Bet Shemesh received a lot of negative publicity worldwide. So I'd like to notify my readers of two positive items regarding Bet Shemesh.

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:

Introducing Lev HaRama: Two new Torani neighborhoods in the ruach of Ramat Shilo
Attractive for young families, retirees and everyone in between

Shalom Uvracha!

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 in order to see the video below)


  1. I loved watching the video, even though I couldn't understand the Hebrew, except for bits and pieces. I will donate to the family.

    By the way, I also loved that the contest seemed to be co-ed. The contest is greatly enhanced by the girls participating on an equal footing.

  2. Why would 2 people vote this as "kefira"?

  3. "I'm please two announce"

    I would have never thought I would catch with such a grammatical mistake, but it happens to the best of us.

  4. I can't understand for the life of me how that happened!

    By the way:

    "I would have never thought I would catch with such a grammatical mistake"

    Don't you mean

    "I would have never thought I would catch you with such a grammatical mistake"?


  5. A bit off the topic, but I am bothered by Israel's unchecked building spree which threatens to destroy vast swathes of countryside. What will happen to the Biblical zoological world if this goes on? Beit Shemesh is apparently slated the lose the beautiful greenbelt of forests surrounding it. I think Israel should build upwards, not sideways.

  6. Ok, lads. ding ding, round one.

    (I love grammar fights!)

  7. Metatron: I was wondering the same thing!

    Lawrence Kaplan

  8. It's "Kefira" to have neighborhoods where only religious people are allowed to live. Is southern Jerusalem the only refuge left for religious people who don't want to love in a complete ghetto? No wonder the prices are so high there.

  9. MJ - I'm post orthodox and I don't think there is anything wrong with this. It looks like a community that preaches how Judaism was supposed to be...not what it turned into.

  10. Let me explain why i thought the kefira box should be ticked......
    Obviously its not kefira in the true sense but the point is RNS could have just as well championed Berel Goldberg a 17 year old yeshiva bochur from B Shemesh who learns Bible and Talmud from 7am till 11pm on a daily basis.
    I really have pride for this young contester but singling him out when there are others doing even more than him does not make sense.
    This is a major problem with you rationalists, you go after your feelings but cloak it in rationalism. You are not honest with yourselves.
    Let me give you another example: Before Pesach RNS and Prof Lawrence Kaplan opined that its ok to be machmir in interpersonal matters like paying el-al the full fare but not in the size of marror.
    I questioned a source for this but neither found one. Again they were following their own feelings what they feel comfortable with disregarding the truth.
    So i salute this fellow who won the international quiz but i also salute the other 100,000 Bnei Torah
    Now thats true rationalism

  11. singling him out when there are others doing even more than him does not make sense.

    Of course it does. Elior knows Tanach better than any other kid in the world! And this despite immense challenges in life!

    I questioned a source for this but neither found one.

    Actually, you were given answers. You just didn't like them.

  12. From experience, fat fingers sometimes click 'Kefira' instead of the comments link directly underneath.

  13. the video is basically saying "come live in a community where everyone's the same". I just don't relate to that


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