I was recently challenged to find an apartment for a couple in their mid-fifties looking for a vacation home. Their requirements were: (1) within a short bus ride of central Jerusalem, in order to take advantage of its numerous religious and cultural opportunities; (2) a neighborhood in which their children, some Yeshivish and others Dati Leumi (National Religious), would feel comfortable visiting on Shabbos; (3) relatively flat terrain due to their physical limitations; (4) location within short walking distance to the bus, shul, and other amenities; (5) at least three bedrooms, to accommodate visiting family; and (6) a budget of $600,000.
My recommendation for this family was Ramot. Located in northwest Jerusalem, Ramot has 60,000 residents, with over 25% English speakers, and contains a culturally and religiously diverse population. Ramot was founded in the early 1970’s (most of Ramot’s historical footprint was under Jordanian control until it was liberated in the Six Day War), and its name hearkens back to whenthe prophet Shmuel died and the Jewish people buried him at his home in the “Rama,” located on a peak above Ramot. Built upon two long ridges ranging from 300 to 600 feet above the surrounding landscape,Ramot offers beautiful views of Jerusalem. In addition, Ramot is situated right off the highway and affords its residents excellent commuting options.
Ramot is divided into five neighborhoods: Ramot Aleph has a nice sized shopping center. Its population is mostly Yeshivish, and also has Dati Leumi and secular Jews. Ramot Bet and Ramot Gimmel consist primarily of Dati Leumi and Yeshivish families and also have a secular base. Both Bet and Gimmel have many semi-detached and private homes, which gives the neighborhood a suburban feel. Ramot Daled is mainly a Yeshivish community, and Ramot Vav, which boasts many private and semi-detached houses, has some Dati Leumi families but is predominantly Yeshivish.
Ramot Bet and Gimmel were excellent options for my clients. Of particular interest to them were two warm and welcoming Dati Leumi shuls in Ramot Bet with many English-speaking members and a wide array of classes in Hebrew and English: Kehillat Mitzpe Ramot led by Rav Kannai, and Kehillat Ramatayim Tzofim led by Rav Shmuel Herschler (well known for his Hebrew and English shiurim in The Great Synagogue and Yeshurun).
The neighborhood has fine amenities, including a community center, library, fitness center and indoor swimming pool with separate hours for men and women. In addition, a major shopping center adjacent to Ramot Gimmel is scheduled to open this year.
With its large Anglo population, fine services, relatively affordable housing, suburban feel and close proximity (under 15-minute bus ride) to downtown Jerusalem, Ramot is an ideal community for English speakers.