Kochav Yaakov and Tel Tzion are two communities in the same yishuv. We originally moved to Tel Tzion 9 years ago and really loved it, but when we were looking to downsize 5 years ago the best house we found for what we were looking for was in Kochav Yaakov. I already knew many of the people in Kochav Yaakov because the communities kind of overlapped, and I knew that it was a nice mix of people where you didn’t have to fit a mold to fit in. And the price was right.
We have an email list, a WhatsApp group, a glide group, and a Facebook group- where people are constantly sharing what’s going on, offering things for free, helping each other with lifts, lending things, etc. We have shiurim every Shabbos in English for women, and once a week in the morning we have a “mommy and me” learning session for women- kids play, moms learn Torah. We have a women’s Beit Medrash, where a few times a week there are Torah classes for women. There are a bunch of men’s shiurim in English as well, as well as chavrusas set up by the rav for those interested. We have monthly Rosh Chodesh events, game nights every so often, and the park is a big hang out place on Shabbos for people to spend time with each other. And that’s just the English speaking community. There’s lots more in the Hebrew speaking community, but there are so many Anglos that I find my social life rich enough just with the Anglos.
What’s transportation like?
Probably about half or more of the families here have their own cars, but most aren’t two car families, so many people rely on the buses. There is terrific bus service- costs only 3.50 shekel to Jerusalem, or if you use a Jerusalem rav kav you can transfer onto the train/bus in Jerusalem. We have buses every 10-15 minutes during peak times, and every 45 minutes to an hour during less peak times. During the night there aren’t really buses- the last one is at 12:30 am I think, and the next one after that is at 5 am.
Where do you work?
I work from home and occasionally in Jerusalem, and my husband works in Jerusalem. Most of the people in the community either work in the yishuv or in Jerusalem, but some people work in the yishuvim nearby- whether Adam, Michmash, Psagot, Migron, Beit El…
How integrated is Kochav Yaakov?
It depends. There is definitely the “Anglo clique” but if an Israeli doesn’t mind attending events in English or reading/writing things in English, they can join in with the Americans. There are at least 50-75 American families here, and the Anglo community just keeps on growing, so that I really can interact solely with the Americans for my social life, and just speak Hebrew to teachers/bus drivers/makolet workers. Most of my good friends are Americans, but I am friends with some Israelis. My Hebrew is better than most of the Americans, so some never really interact with Israelis. And some interact with Israelis so much that they aren’t really part of the American community even though they’re Anglos.
What’s there to do in Kochav Yaakov?
The yishuv is pretty much just that- a yishuv. There’s some playgrounds, a pizza place, a falafel stand, a Yemenite restaurant. And there is an amazing forest with a hiking trail, but I’ve never been on it. There’s a library, a gym, a matnas with lots of activities, a Gymboree…
Anything else you want to add?
It is a very warm friendly familial place. Everyone gets along with everyone, and it’s like one big happy family. It has an “eclectic” vibe to it- if you’re totally run of the mill; you might not like it here. But if you’re someone that really doesn’t fit a box, whether religiously, socially, whatever, you can fit in perfectly here. People tend to be less “well to do” here, so there isn’t a lot of pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” here, and there is a lot of chessed.