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HOME Tour - Agan HaAyalot

In the next part of our Home Tour series, we present Agan HaAyalot -- also known as Givat Ze'ev HaChadasha.

Agan HaAyalot is a Chareidi yishuv in the Binyomin region, nestled in the side of a mountain range and hidden from view from the main roads. Surprisingly, it is only a short drive away from the center of Yerushalayim. This 'secret' yishuv has a large Anglo population thriving alongside Chassidim and Israeli Litvish families.

After Operation Home Again and Avira D'Eretz Yisrael toured the neighborhood, HaModia collected from us our information and pictures for the purpose of publishing a comprehensive article about the community. We are delighted to share below the beginning of the HaModia Article.

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Agan HaAyalot: A Secret Corner of Yerushalayim

A few minutes by car past the Ramot neighborhood of Yerushalayim is a stretch of five hills known as Givat Ze’ev. Each of the hills has its own community and character. Agan HaAyalot is one of them — a chareidi neighborhood with a suburban feel, about 30% English-speaking, and about 15 minutes away from downtown Yerushalayim. Halachically, this neighborhood is a continuum of Yerushalayim, and some people even make the three- or four-hour walk from here to Yerushalayim on Shabbos. Even though it is technically beyond the Green Line, it doesn’t feel that way — there is no army checkpoint to pass, and

no Arab villages along the way, if one takes the straight road (as opposed to

leaving the town via Highway 443). In fact, the connection to Yerushalayim has been the source of several halachic debates. For people making the trek on Shabbos to Yerushalayim,

among them many Karlin Chassidim wanting to take part in the tisch there, a question arose concerning carrying. “While the area is within the techum, the question was if the eruv extended to all sections of the journey to town,” neighborhood resident Nachum Gellis explained to Hamodia. “There was also a big halachic debate over when to read Megillas Esther, since we can see the kever of Shmuel HaNavi, and nearby the kever are remnants of what seem to be walls of an ancient city. This question came up a few times, but to date, the

Megillah here is read on 14 Adar.” “Belz has not expanded beyond the

Green Line, with this exception,” Harav Eliyahu Vetenstein, Rav of the local Belz

kehillah, told Hamodia. “The [Belzer] Rebbe has visited here, most recently

on Chanukah, when he attended a sheva brachos of the Karlin Chassidus in the

more veteran neighborhood of Givat Ze’ev, and he came here as well. He has encouraged people to come here, and while he himself rarely visits Belz kehillos in the country, such as very established kehillos in Ashdod and Beit Shemesh, he has made several visits here.”

Why Is Agan HaAyalot Almost Unknown?

Giv’at Ze’ev has a population of about 5,000 families, or 20,000 residents. Agan HaAyalot is a separate neighborhood within Givat Ze’ev of some 1,300 families, including such noted personalities as Miriam Peretz, former candidate for president of Israel; musician Aharon Razel (who serves as Rosh Kollel of Kollel Shiras Halevi’im, which stud-

ies Daf Yomi b’iyun) and other artists of the chareidi world. “This is a neighborhood where one has the proximity to Yerushalayim but a small town feel as well,” said Rabbi Gellis. “New projects have been approved and are being marketed, but even then, they will only add some 800 families, so it seems Agan HaAyalot will retain its small-town character even afterward.” What will change is that most of the new residents will probably be young couples, whereas when this neighborhood started, it was populated mostly by established families who had been living in Yerushalayim and were looking for a larger apartment.

Interestingly, despite a high percentage of chutznikim and numerous high-profile residents, and despite its being an entirely chareidi neighborhood, the name “Agan HaAyalot” rarely

comes up when discussing the various yishuvim and neighborhoods of the chareidi tzibbur in Eretz Yisrael. When asked why Agan HaAyalot is relatively unknown, Rav Vetenstein chuckles: “Before I came here, I had barely heard of Givat Ze’ev. And within Givat Ze’ev, Agan HaAyalot was built much later.”

“First of all, within Givat Ze’ev, Agan HaAyalot is relatively new,” explains Harav Efraim Landy, Rav of the Aderes Eliyahu Shul. “This neighborhood only began in 2010, much later than the other ones. Also, while it has all the basic services like a supermarket and Kupat Cholim, it is not a place that someone from the outside would ever need to come to, and there is no other neighborhood that one can reach by passing through Agan HaAyalot. These factors have served to isolate this area, so it has a pastoral quiet and suburban feel, even with its proximity to Yerushalayim. ‘Agan Ayalot’ means the ‘Doe Basin,’ and I’ve seen does and deer here many times. . . .

See the full HaModia article here: Agan HaAyalot: A Secret Corner of Yerushalayim

Please see the gallery of pictures from our tour here.

For more information about Agan HaAyalot, visit Lifeintheland.com - Agan HaAyalot

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