“Did you make aliyah to live in Adam? I would love to get the perspective of somebody who’s moved there to know how they found the initial phase of setting in and becoming part of the community, as well as their experience with schools, shuls etc.?” Yamit Tal Meir, admin. @Let’s Talk Aliya on Facebook
Rav Shalom Miller, the founder and director of Oro Shel Adam, shares with us his family’s story of discovering and settling in the Yishuv.
We had never spent any time in Adam before visiting the community 2010. My wife and I had already been living in Israel for than ten years. The same day that we saw the house on Levona St. in May of 2010, we signed.
Here’s the story:
By 2009, with 3 kids and fourth on the way, it was time to move out of our 2.5 bed-room Jerusalem apartment. After unsuccessfully attempting to buy an apartment locally (everything reasonable we saw was beyond our price range), we knew it was time to look outside the City to find a place to live.
A van driver connected to Machon Lev, where I was teaching at that time, told us about his community – Adam – just 5 mins. outside of Jerusalem. Soon after that conversation, we saw an add in “B’Sheva” about a 4 bed-room home for sale in Adam. With anticipation and excitement we booked an appointment with the real estate agent. I had a gut feeling that something good was about to happen.
I told my wife jokingly prior to the visit, “We’ll buy the house and then go out for dinner.”
We arrived to the yishuv and had no clue where to go- how to find Levona St. (this was before “waze”). A warm and kind individual, who ultimately became a neighbor and friend, saw that we were lost and guided us in the right direction. I said to myself, “if people here are half as nice as this guy, this is a community I want to live in.”
We walked into the 2 floor house and were shocked that such a beautiful home was being sold for so cheap, relative to what we had seen in Jerusalem. After the five minute tour of the house, my wife and I crossed the street to speak privately. WE WERE FLOORED BY THE HOUSE and it was clear we were both on the same page and very interested.
We asked the real-estate to join our conference on the other side of Levona. We asked him to bargain the price down a bit. The owners agreed to take 25,000 shekel off the asking price. We returned inside and sat down with Mr. and Mrs. Beit Halachmi to seal the deal. This time they were kind enough to serve us water on the warm summer day. The real-estate agent wrote up the “zichron d’varim,” a basic agreement between the parties about the price and date of passing over the keys. We signed and then headed over to Sha’ar Binyamin, our new local shopping center, for a celebratory dinner.
Buying a home in Eretz Yisrael is great cause for celebration.
Two days later, the Beit Halachmi family contacted us and wanted to back out of the deal. They had legal authorization to do so but it would mean they would have to pay us a fee of 50K for backing out of the contract. They opted to keep the agreement and we moved to Adam in September on 2010.
We found many wonderful blessings when we moved to Adam. We found a religious community of Sfaradim, Ashkanazim, Religious Zionists and Charedim. We also welcomed that Adam had traditional and non-religious Jews as well. Coming from the United States we were happy to find a community with variety. I had been in pluralistic environments my whole life. It’s encouraging to know that different types of Jews can live and get along together in the same community.
Initially we were participating in two Ashkanazi shuls/communities in Adam. A couple months later, we settled into the community that was closer to our home. There are double digit shuls in Adam, many of them Sfaradi, and each group adds their own unique flavor of Judaism to the general community.
We were also very happy to find that Adam had many options for ganim. Our children were still little and we needed to find a warm and wholesome religious system that would be appropriate for us. It was always good to know that if one system was not appropriate there were many other options available to us.
When our children entered elementary school we knew we had options of different schools in the yishuv and close by as well. Because Adam is so centrally located, ultimately, we took advantage of both schools within and outside of Adam (in Jerusalem and in Binyamin).
We very much like the balance that Adam is large enough to have personal privacy and small enough to develop real connections and relationships with community members. After living in Jerusalem city-life for 3 years, it was a breath of fresh air that people care and notice when you are away visiting family in the United States for a couple of weeks.
Finding Adam was a dream come true for the Miller family. After living here for double digit years, its nice to now be able to welcome both new immigrants and well established Olim to Yishuv Adam. Our community is growing and has great potential for a bright future.