Karnei Shomron is a sprawling regional center, located midway between present day Alfei Menashe and Kedumim—on the border between where the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe lived in Biblical times.
There are close to 2,000 families living in Karnei Shomron today, spanning every age group and background and a wide range of social, recreational, and cultural services offered locally.
Unique to Karnei Shomron is its “North American” neighborhood, Neve Aliza, founded by new immigrants to Israel from the U.S. and Canada in 1985. Today there are some 200 families throughout Karnei Shomron who originate from English-speaking countries.
Education / Youth
Karnei Shomron residents pride themselves on having an extensive and creative educational system. Ganim are spread throughout the town and separate facilities serve religious and secular residents. The community also has a therapeutic gan for children who have special needs, and a gan that integrates special needs children into a traditional gan setting. Additionally, there are private ganim in the area. For children in the religious track, there are two choices in elementary schools. The regional religious school educates boys and girls in separate classes, from 1st to 6th grades. There is one school for grades one through three, and a separate school for grades 4-6. Each school has an experienced and dedicated staff. In the older grades, the school offers opportunities for children to learn individually with older Yeshiva and Ulpana students. The other elementary school embraces the Barkai method of study, which combines intensive study of the Torah with a rigorous secular curriculum. (For more information on the Barkai method, see description of Orot Etzion in the Efrat profile.) Each classroom has its own Rabbi, who works with students individually and in small groups. The Barkai school also has classes for children with learning disabilities. The quality inherent in Karnei Shomron’s high schools derives not from their selectivity, but from their inclusiveness. Unlike many schools in Israel, Karnei Shomron’s main high schools have an open admissions policy. This makes for a diverse mixture of students and creates a fertile learning environment for serious students and for those a bit less serious. The boy’s school is Yeshivat HaShomron and serves students in grades 7-12. The school has a warm environment and teachers make personal connections with all the students. The vast majority of boys who graduate from Yeshivat HaShomron continue into a Yeshivat Hesder program. The school also has a small, new branch that is highly selective and attracts students from throughout Israel. In this branch, the boys study Torah until 4pm and secular subjects from 4-7:30pm. And then, there’s night seder! Girls on Karnei Shomron generally attend Ulpanat Kedumim for high school. Like both of the boys’ schools, the Ulpana offers full Bagrut (matriculation exams), with a varied curriculum that changes based on the needs and interests of the students. The school encourages the girls to become involved in a wide variety of educational activities and hesed projects. It also takes very seriously its role in educating religious girls to confront a largely secular society. Youth life in Neve Aliza, and in most of Karnei Shomron, revolves around Bnei Akiva. Close to 300 children are involved in Bnei Akiva activities both on Shabbat and during the week. The yishuv recently completed construction of a beautiful new Bnei Akiva complex that includes its own Beit Midrash (study hall) and serves all the group’s needs.
Karnei Shomron is accessible via both private and public transportation. The community is located 15 kilometers from Kfar Saba, 32 kilometers from Petah Tikva, 40 kilometers from Tel Aviv, 47 kilometers from Netanya, and 85 kilometers from Jerusalem. Each of these cities can be accessed through reliable Egged or Dan bus service. Carpooling is also a popular option. If residents are comfortable relying on buses, it is possible to live in Karnei Shomron without a car. Just about any place one might want to get to is accessible through frequent bus service.
It is fair to say that a new immigrant in Neve Aliza would not become lost in the system. The community is small, intimate, and caring. Families socialize frequently on Shabbat. When an immigrant family arrives, the community really takes care of all their needs. The neighborhood has a well-developed infrastructure that actively encourages and supports the absorption of new immigrants. There are no Ulpan classes are offered in Karnei Shomron, residents who require Ulpan attend classes in Ra’anana which is a 40 minute bus ride.
Amenities / Services
Karnei Shomron is home to the only mall in the Shomron region. A shopper can find several restaurants, clothing stores, a spice store, cellular phone center, an optician, and several other shops. The Kanyon (mall) is also a real center of activity for the town. Residents gather there to socialize, shop, and dine. Before the festival of Sukkot, the courtyard in front of the kanyon is bustling with activity as hundreds of people from throughout the region gather to purchase their lulavim (palm fronds) and etrogim (citron) at a giant outdoor market. The Ginot Shomron area has a large supermarket, and most of the individual neighborhoods have their own minimarkets. A small post office is conveniently located in Ginot Shomron and a local industrial area houses locally-owned workshops and small industry. Clalit and Leumit healthcare providers have clinics in Karnei Shomron, and both Kupot offer medical services to members of Meuchedet and Maccabi. There are also numerous private medical practices, dentists, orthodontists, alternative medical practitioners, and optometrists.
As for community activities, Neve Aliza seems to have it all. Karnei Shomron is home to an active recreation center, a community center for seniors, libraries, a pool (with separate and mixed swimming hours), tennis and basketball courts, and a fitness center. Between the community center, senior center, schools, youth groups, numerous classes, hesed activities and more, Karnei Shomron residents stay very active in their community.
Community and Religious Life
The American Shul in particular, is a center of activity for involvement in Neve Aliza and in the larger community. Karnei Shomron has nine synagogues (Ashkenazi and Sefaradi), three Mikvaot (ritual baths), a prestigious Hesder Yeshiva, and several Kollels. Neve Aliza itself has the American Shul, a Young Israel that is certain to remind residents and visitors of the ‘old country’. The shul has an elegant main sanctuary, a tasteful Beit Midrash, and a social hall. It even has its very own American Rabbi. All Divrei Torah are in Hebrew, but classes are offered both in Hebrew and English. The shul is a stately structure, prominently located on ‘Chicago Way’.
Neve Aliza and Ginot Shomron. The Neve Menachem neighborhood, the last neighborhood in Karnei Shomron that is poised for growth is currently expanding its housing opportunities.