Region: Jerusalem District
City Type: Major City
Population: 119,000 (RBS 25,000)
Demographics: Young Couples & Families, Families, Retirees
Religious Makeup: Chabad, Chardal, Dati Leumi, Haredi, Secular
Affordability: $$$ (range 1 to 5)
The average annual percentage of humidity is: 67%.
Beit Shemesh, including the neighboring expansion known as Ramat Beit Shemesh (RBS), is a centrally-located and more affordable city with a diverse population, of whom many are Olim. The original part of Beit Shemesh is home to immigrants from many nations, including the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and English-speaking countries, who joined earlier immigrant waves from neighboring Arab countries and Eastern Europe. Ramat Beit Shemesh (RBS) is a newer addition to the city, located on adjacent hillsides and populated mostly by Orthodox families with a higher percentage of English speakers.
Apartments are the dominant form of housing in the area, including a mix of larger and smaller apartment complexes.
Housing prices vary widely, based on location, features, and condition, but recent searches yielded these prices for apartment rentals and purchases:
|Type||Size (Sq. Meters)||Rent||Purchase|
Many residents own cars, but public transportation is plentiful in the form of bus, rail, and van services. Local bus service is frequent and inter-city lines are reliable, but often have infrequent service. Commuters often prefer the train, which has a station nearby and fast service to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but not many of the other nearby cities.
Beit Shemesh serves as a bedroom community for nearby cities with a variety of employment opportunities in a wide range of industries. Some residents work in the nearby Har Tuv industrial park, and a growing number of English speakers work from home or a local office during North American business hours.
A wide range of options are available for Gan and elementary-age children, including many religious schools serving Haredi, Yeshivish, and Dati Leumi populations. Secular schools and private and public Ganim serving a variety of preferences are available. Middle schools and high schools follow the pattern for lower grades, with the additional option of sending older students to schools in Jerusalem of those offering dormitories. It is important for potential Olim to contact schools to arrange registration in advance of arrival, especially if they are seeking special education or a specific religious affiliation.
Services for Olim
Beit Shemesh, and particularly RBS, is a popular Aliyah destination because it offers a relatively softer landing for English speakers. The municipality has an English-speaking liaison to assist new Olim handle municipal matters. Ulpan programs are available for both adults and children, and the public education system offers special Ulpan programs for children in the lower grades. Offices of the Ministry of Absorption and Ministry of the Interior are located in the city.
A great number and variety of religious institutions are present, and youth groups and services are plentiful. Several shuls have a significant number of English speaking congregants and native English speaking Rabonim. RBS features Yeshivot and is an active Torah learning community.
Amenities & Attractions
Local shopping and recreation resources are plentiful, with more becoming available as grown continues. Neighborhoods offer dining, shopping, and activities tailored to the local population, and local service organizations in English are widely available.