Har Choma Residents Accuse The City Of Abandoning Shuls


Har Choma residents are challenging Jerusalem City Hall and the national government, accusing them of abandoning the community’s shuls and religious services. They insist the community does not provide a sufficient number of shuls and as a result, many residents are forced to be mispallel in bizarre places. Of late, those involved have decided to step-up their actions of defiance, hoping it will lead to an improved situation.

Har Choma was established over 20 years ago, and despite this, there are only four shuls for 25,000 residents. As a result, residents daven in parking lots, kindergartens, caravans, and even in schools. The residents maintain these venues are not proper for tefilos, and there were times negotiations were required between kindergarten teachers and mispallalim due to the actions of mispallalim in the kindergarten.

Residents explained they began in a school and then they were compelled to move to a kindergarten, and then, back to the school. Now, they are in a parking lot, Michael Hadad explained to MyNet, one of the mispallalim in Beit Knesset Noam Siach. While they have a steady place in the parking lot, there are problems including inclement weather and the safety concerns.

Hadad explains they tried to resolve issues via regular channels, albeit without success.

A gabbai and founder of Beit Knesset Kehillos Netivot Yisrael, Ariel Shachar, also spoke with MyNet, explaining “Our children were born into the reality that their shul is in a parking lot.” A kenos for the gabbaim of the shuls in the community are planning to meet in a week to launch their battle against Jerusalem City Hall and the national government.

Jerusalem City Hall reports “Since the establishment of the community numerous shuls were built and millions of shekels were invested in addition to funds from the national government. The allocation of plots of land for shuls is done in strict compliance with regulations and non-profits interested in establishing a shul is welcome to file and will receive instructions and assistance.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I don’t understand. Is it the Zionist Government responsibility to build and maintain Shuls? Aren’t there people who want Shuls in their neighborhoods? Aren’t they responsible for building and maintaining the Shuls? Is this a form of welfare expected from Israel’s Citizens? Is the Government also responsible to build the grocery store, the barber shop, the movie theater, the gas station, the fallafel shop, the coffee shop, etc.??? This is not a Communist Country. Or is it?

  2. The way it generally is supposed to work is that when residents purchase an apartment a certain amount is supposed to be allocated for space for a shul and maybe a shell. Its up to the residents to build and maintain the shul. The problem here as well as in other dati communities is that space that originally was designated for shuls magically end up being used for building more apartments. This of course leads to more arnona (real estate taxes), and less shuls being built. We have the same problem in my area in Efrat. Paranthetically if one goes to a new neighborhood being built in a chareidi area – shuls and yeshivas go up first then the apartments. Its all about priorities.