For those who live in the area, the development of the city of Beitar has seemed almost miraculous. Before 1990, the current city consisted of a few caravans. In the short period of thirteen years,
Beitar hasgrown into a fully self-sufficient Charedi city with over 6,000 families in residence, spread out over two mountains. The city is widely recognized throughout Israel for its good government, cleanliness, and for having the highest birthrate in the country.
The community is 50% Chassidesh, and growing.
It is important to note that there is an acceptance committee (Va'adat Achlus) that all potential residents must meet with in order to be accepted into the community.
|Beitar Illit Stats
|Region: Efrat & Gush Etzion - אפרת וגוש עציון
|Demographics: Young couples/Young families, Families, Retirees
Maccabi, Meuchedet, Clalit, Leumit
|City Type: Small city/Large town עיר קטנה/עירה
|Number of families: 8000
|Number of English speakers: 10%
Jason and Esther Wind
Married with young children, Haredi
Michael and Melanie Coffman
Married with school-aged children, Haredi
Married, Orthodox, young children
There are few local employment opportunities in Beitar. A significant percentage of men in the community work, mostly commuting to jobs in Jerusalem or working from home. Women tend to work for companies that accomodate a Charedi lifstyle such as Greenpoint, Matrix and Citybook Office.
Education / Youth
As would be expected for a city of its size, Beitar has a vast network of educational options. There are numerous Ganim spread throughout the city. The elementary schools come in several varieties, including government funded, privately funded, Chassideshe, Mitnagdische, and combinations of these categories. Boys and girls attend high schools in either Beitar or Jerusalem.
Many of the English-speaking Litvish young couples and families are clustered around the Kollel of Rabbi Friedman in the "A" section of the city. The Kollel also includes a large yeshiva for older teens and young men.
For elementary school, most English-speakers send their daughters to either Ateret Siah or Mishmeret Meir. The boys attend Talmud Torah Netaei Meir or Nefesh Hahaim.
Most residents of Beitar do not own cars. The city operates its own bus system that transports residents between Beitar and Jerusalem (20 minutes to the center of town), Bnei Brak (1 hour) and Beit Shemesh (20 minutes). A bus heads from Beitar to Jerusalem approximately every 15 minutes, which makes for a particularly easy commute.
Beitar is a close-knit community that, despite its size, does not allow residents to become lost. The English-speaking community, in particular, is very active in tending to community needs. There is an English-speaking womens' organization, Neshei, that provides classes, entertainment, and special holiday activities. Ohel Torah Congregation is a natural magnet for English-speaking Olim.
Amenities / Services
Beitar boasts three supermarkets, numerous mini-markets, hardware stores, clothing stores, furniture stores, electronics distributors, and more, offering a wide variety of available merchandise. Most of the grocery stores deliver, which makes life considerably easier for residents who tend not to own their own cars. For items not sold in Beitar, the commercial district of Talpiot in Jerusalem is a 12 minute drive. Beitar has all Kupot Cholim (heath funds), in addition to dental and optical clinics. Residents rarely have to leave the city to shop or see a doctor.
Community and Religious Life
Although the English-speaking community is spread throughout Beitar, it comes together to welcome new residents into the community. The larger community is widely involved in Chesed activities, and there are over 250 Gemachim that operate in the city. While there are three English-speaking shuls, there are tens of other Shuls and Shteiblach, Mikvaot, Yeshivot, and Kollels.
Rabbi Stern's Ohel Torah congregation is the welcoming wagon for English speakers. The center includes a Kollel, Shiurim rooms for the public, and an active congregation.
Rabbi Kreiger has an English speaking Kollel for reitrees.
The real estate market in Beitar is tight right now. Additionally, before renting or purchasing an apartment, it is necessary to undergo a screening process by the Acceptance Committee.
In general, 3 room apartments cost between 730,000-1.2 million NIS to purchase. Private homes are scarce and run between 1.5-2 million NIS.
A 5 room (4 bedroom) apartment costs approximately 3,000 NIS.
The community is divided into Side A and Side B (when you enter Beitar Illit, you are in side B). The majority of English speakers live on side A. On side B, many English speakers have purchased homes in the Raitfort neighborhood, which is a mix of Chassidishe and Litvish families who both work and learn. The Dekel and Etrog neighborhoods also have high English-speaking concentrations.
Givat C and D are in the planning stages of development.
Updated: October, 2010