The twelve days between Chai Elul and Rosh Hashana are connected to the twelve months of the year, each day connecting to another month. For the fast growing Ramat Bet Shemesh Gimmel community, they are attempting to build a shul that could take 12 months in 12 days!
The Minyan in this brand new neighborhood of 2800 families started two years ago in the homes of Rabbi Yitzchak Rosenblum and Rabbi Binyomin Mendelson, catering to the 15 pioneer Chabad families in what was then a neighborhood fully under construction.
Last Elul, as the community grew to 25+ families, there was an unsuccessful attempt to receive a plot of land from the city to build a Shul. Other Shuls in the neighborhood had begun to take matters into their own hand and established Shuls on empty city land. Realizing the community urgently needed a place to Daven for Tishrei, a Chabad Shul was erected overnight with the bare hands of community members on an empty plot of land. The next day, just a few hours before Shabbos, a city tractor came to take down the Shul. When the news spread, community members and supporters came out to protect the Shul. After several days of negotiations and political lobbying, an agreement was made with the city on a temporary location for the Shul.
The 25 families have rapidly grown over the past 12 months to over 100, with more Chabad families moving in every week. These families have settled here from across the globe, with representation from over 25 different countries! To cater to such a diverse crowd, when visiting the Shul one finds 4 different tables with Shiurim in English, Spanish, French, and Hebrew. In addition, there are monthly N’shei events for women, multiple daily Minyanim, a children’s Minyan, Avos U’banim….but the one thing that the community is missing is a big enough Shul to cater for the 100+ families. On Friday night and Shabbos it is standing room only with over 100+ men in a 900 square foot caravan, with little to no room for the women. Every Shabbos morning the Bimah has to be moved outside to allow room for everyone to have a place to daven, brought back in again for Krias Hatorah, and back out again for the Farbrengen.
Rabbi Binyamin Mendelson, the neighborhood Shliach originally moved to Gimmel as a businessman, but after seeing the Shlichus potential, left his job to work full time on Shlichus. His dedication and commitment to the community has led to the community’s expansion and success. After seeing the fast growth, he realized the need to bring in a community Rav, and this month Rabbi Chaim Eliyahu Gluckowsky was appointed as Rav and joined the community, throwing himself into his duties with tremendous enthusiasm and earning the respect and admiration of the Kehila within days of his appointment.
The Vaad of the Shul worked extremely hard over the summer to get permission from the City of Beit Shemesh to build a new Shul on a plot of land. Finally, this past Tuesday morning, permission was granted to build a 2700 square foot Shul. The tractors started clearing the land 2 hours later.
The Final Countdown:
For the Chabad community in Ramat Bet Shemesh Gimmel, this Rosh Hashana will hopefully once again bring miraculous growth and expansion!