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Ramat Beit Shemesh

Nefesh B'Nefesh - Aliyah Live the Dream
Ramat Beit Shemesh is a well designed, welcoming community to Orthodox Jews from every spectrum and stream of Torah Judaism. it's main draw is that it is centrally located, with a growing array of educational institutions and varied housing prices.

The English speaking residents work hard to make newcomers feel a part of the community, and the variety of shuls and schools allow for everyone to feel that there is a place for them within the neighborhood.

In sum, RBS, or the Rama as it is often called can provide a remarkably smooth landing for observant English-speaking Olim. [Note: this profile will focus on RBS Aleph, as very few of our Olim move to RBS Bet. As of this writing, RBS Bet has only accepted residents for the]

Ramat Beit Shemesh Stats
Region: Beit Shemesh/RBS Area - בית שמש ורב"ש Climate: Valley/Low mountain
Demographics: Young couples/Young families, Families, Retirees Medical care:
Maccabi, Meuchedet, Clalit, Leumit
City Type: Small city/Large town עיר קטנה/עירה Affordability: $$$
Number of families: 4300
Sectors:
Chabad, Chardal, Dati Leumi, Haredi
Number of English speakers: 40% (in certain areas 80%)

Community contacts:
Tami Elmaliach
olimhelp@gmail.com
050-451-8889
Liasion to the municipality for English speaking Olim

Miriam Gastwirt
murm@netvision.net.il
02-991-9143
Married, Modern Orthodox, school-aged children

Miri Gantshar
mgantshar@gmail.com
Married, Orthodox, school-aged children

Website: www.shemesh.co.il
Listserv: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RBS/

Local Employment
There are shopping centers with a variety of stores, and many home based businesses.

A number of Anglos are employed in the Har Tuv industrial park, but most work in either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. There is a growing sector who work North American hours from their home or local office.

Education / Youth
Ramat Beit Shemesh has ganim (pre-nursery schools) of all varieties. Some are affiliated with the elementary schools, while others are municipal ganim. Private ganim are available as well. There are ganim appropriate for the Religious-Zionist, Haredi, and Yeshivish populations. There are serveral where English is the main language.

There is a wide range of options for elementary school. Harel and Etrog serve the Dati Leumi population, while Ahavat Yisrael (also known as Rapoport) and Talmud Torah Moriah cater to the Chardal population. American Yeshivish families primarily send their boys to Toras Moshe, Darchei Noam and Magen Avot. Te girls thrive in Bnos Malka, Beit Yaakov HaRama and Magen Avot.

On the high school level there are several options for boys and girls in the Dati Leumi, Chardal and Charedi spheres. Some students choose to study outside of Ramat Beit Shemesh, mostly in Jerusalem.

There is a Bnei Akiva chapter as well as Ariel.

The community houses many Kollelim, as well as an American boy's and girl's post high school learning program.

Many of the Anglo children attend after school clubs and informal learning programs through the Matnas (community center) and private venues.

The community has a unique children's Ulpan program, and adults learn in the Matnas.


Transportation
Ramat Beit Shemesh is a 40 minute drive to Jerusalem and a 45 minute drive to Tel Aviv. However, the preferred method of commuting to Tel Aviv is by train via the Beit Shemesh train station. The train is comfortable, clean, efficient, and generally on time. Commuters arrive in Tel Aviv in 35 minutes. The train station is a 10 minute drive from the Ramah and a bus goes there with frequency.

Reliable and regular bus service is also available to residents who commute to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The Har Tuv industrial park is a 10 minute drive from the Ramah. There is limited bus service there.

Many of the city's residents commute to work in other cities, including Rechovot, Kiryat Gat, Be'er Sheva, Ashdod, Lod, Yavne, Modi'in, and Rishon LeTzion. Reliable (if relatively infrequent) bus service is available to many of these locations.

Van services, employer-provided transportation, and ride-sharing programs. However, most people tend to depend on personal vehicles for most of their transportation needs.

Most Ramat Beit Shemesh residents own at least one car, although there are a fair number, particularly in the Kollel community, who do not own vehicles.

Olim Services
Ramat Beit Shemesh has a large percentage of Olim from all over the world, and the old-timers are eager to help the more recent arrivals. Newer Olim report that they are warmly welcomed into the community, with numerous Shabbat invitations, food, advice, and 'hand-holding'.

Ulpanim are available in Ramat Beit Shemesh, for both adults and children. This year the children's Ulpan cost 1,500 NIS per child + 300 NIS for transportation.

The municipality has hired a representaive to serve as a liasion between the English speaking Olim and the city offices.


Amenities / Services
Ramat Beit Shemesh has a large central shopping district with Kupot Holim (health-care providers), banks, supermarkets, bakeries, cell-phone stores, clothing stores, and more. Several smaller supermarkets scattered throughout the area.

The Matnas offers many after-school activities, as well as a library with a large selection of English titles.

There are numerous Gemachim in the neighborhood for almost every imaginable need, which facilitate living in RBS with more ease.

The shemeshphone is a community phone book in both Hebrew and English which is a treasure of the Ramah residents.

The Simchat Yechiel Gemach provides several community events and lectures throughout the year that are a staple of the community.

Community and Religious Life
Ramat Beit Shemesh is an active Torah learning community. There are several Yeshivot (of all orientations), Kollels, and regular classes for men and women.

There are several primarily English speaking shuls whose Rabbis are also native English speakers.

Numerous mikvaot serve the community, with some women going to Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet as another option.

The community sponsors an elaborate Yom Haatzmaut program as well as special events in the Matnas

In any given week there are guest speakers presenting community wide Torah lectures.

The community is known for its Chesed work and the many Gemachim that are in place.

Real Estate
An average 3 bedroom (4 room) apartment rents for 3500-4000 NIS/ month, while a 4 bedroom (5 room) runs between 4,000-5000 NIS/month.

3 bedroom apartments run in the 1.2 million NIS range, and 4 bedrooms in the 1.3 million NIS range. Semi-detached and and private homes are available, but less common.



Neighborhoods
While Anglos are spread throughout Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph, most of the Anglo community lives to the east of Park Ayalon in the Refaim, Luz, Maor, Habesor and Shimshon areas.

Ramat Shilo neighbourhood was established in 2008 and has quickly become one of the popular areas in the Ramah for Anglo Olim. Ramat Shilo has several Shul options, ganim and houses the Lev HaTorah Yeshiva for post high school English speakers.

Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel is still in the building process with the first families having moved in December of 2013. Ramat Beit Shemesh Daled and Heh are all planned and will be built within the next decade.

Updated: September 2014