Representatives of Ganei Ha’Ela, a new community in Ramat Bet Shemesh, will be visiting greater New York to meet with potential buyers. Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, rabbi of the community, and Shelly Levine of Tivuch Shelly, the exclusive agent for the project, will be hosting an informational “open house” in the Five Towns/Far Rockaway area on Sunday, September 7, at 8:00 p.m.
In addition to learning about the vision of the community, as well as important housing and financing information, attendees of the open house will be eligible for special pricing options and will also receive a voucher for $10,000 towards their aliyah moving expenses—redeemable upon purchase of a home in Ganei Ha’Ela.
During this trip, Ganei Ha’Ela will be introducing two new affordable home models: the Gilboa, a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom triplex, with a 440 square-foot finished attic, for $385,000; and the Hermon, a 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom triplex, with a 740 square-foot finished attic, for $490,000. Both models feature large terraces with spectacular views.
Ganei Ha’ela has already achieved remarkable success, with over 60% of the available homes sold. With the infrastructure already completed, final building permits are expected after the chagim, and construction is scheduled to begin immediately thereafter. The more than 40 families that have already joined Ganei Ha’Ela represent a cross-section of backgrounds, blending recent olim from North America with English- and Hebrew-speaking families already living in greater Bet Shemesh and throughout Israel.
People familiar with “community building” in Israel have noted that, from the beginning, the process for developing Ganei Ha’Ela has been different than most projects. Typically, a builder targets a specific location, housing models and prices are proposed, and then marketing begins. Ganei Ha’Ela was engineered in the opposite direction. A clear vision of defining values for the community was developed, a core group of families that matched that vision was identified, and finally, only at that stage, was the location finalized and the builder chosen.
Far from being merely incidental, this clear and consistent emphasis on the vision and values of the community led to much of the project’s early success, says Rabbi Gottlieb. “I truly believe that people are looking to become part of something bigger than themselves, and that’s what we hope Ganei Ha’Elah will be.”
Another factor that attracted some of the initial families was the ability to contribute to forming a new community from the ground up. Daniel Fruchter, a dentist who made aliyah last summer, notes that he and his wife were looking for “a warm and close-knit community where we can contribute and grow along with the kehillah.”
The benefits that living in a community like Ganei Ha’Ela—focused on common values and a shared vision—can offer children is also a strong selling point for many families. As Michal Geffner, a mental-health professional who currently lives in Ramat Shilo (an adjacent suburb within Ramat Bet Shemesh) explained, “We are excited about living in a community that truly loves the Torah and Eretz Yisrael. It is important for us to raise our children in such a place, and we believe that Ganei Ha’Ela incorporates these ideals.”
That was also a deciding factor for Yossi Platnick, a radiologist originally from Flatbush, who noted, “Of utmost importance to us is to raise our children in a Torah-centric and community-focused neighborhood where they can develop and grow.”
Essential to the communal vision is the central role of the communal beit knesset. Rabbi Gottlieb further explained that an aspect of the project that has been particularly attractive for olim is the central role that the beit knesset will play. With a combined focus on tefillah and Torah study, as well as youth and social programming, the beit knesset aims to be the heart and soul of Ganei Ha’Ela. While many communities throughout the Diaspora can boast of having such dynamic synagogues, this is not a common reality in Israel. Nevertheless, said Rabbi Gottlieb, “We believe that this communal structure is critical, especially for olim, who will face common challenges in a new country and culture.”
Open houses will be taking place in the Five Towns on September 7, in Queens on September 8, and in Washington Heights on September 9.
To RSVP for the open house or to schedule a private meeting or for any questions regarding the project, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-783-8408. More information about the project and the various housing options can be found in the ad on page 20 of this issue and at www.ganeihalea.com. v
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