Uniqueness of Chatam as a community

Community -  this single word best expresses the philosophy behind Beit Chatam. The approximately 90 families that make up Beit Chatam are striving to build a community in Eretz Yisroel - a community based on Torah, and yir'as shomayim. We are trying to build an example of what a Torah community should be - without any hidden agenda. Our agenda is to strengthen ourselves and our children, and by doing so, to provide an example of what can be done in our Land.

The religious Western oleh, and particularly the immigrant who chooses to work here in Eretz Yisroel, will very often ask himself soon after his aliya, "Why am I here?" The enormous financial and emotional investment which he made in order to get here is called into question. He begins to wonder, "Did I make aliya, or have I made a yerida? Have I gained spiritually, or have I lost?" The mamarei Chazal, which beckoned him to leave his "home", do not seem to mesh with reality. He knows that the future of the Jewish people is here, but he wonders where his future is. He left his former community to realize the dreams of the generations. Instead, he finds himself in the nightmare of polarization which characterizes modern Israeli society. He wanted to join his own destiny to the destiny of Klal Yisroel, but with every move he is confronted with the harsh demand, "Which camp are you in?"

At Beit Chatam, we build bridges based on love of Torah and love of each other. We aim to move beyond the adversarial relationship which has developed between the full-time Torah scholar and the baal habayis. At Beit Chatam we have built a framework which is all too rare in Eretz Yisroel. The kollel members of our community strengthen the baalei batim. They give shiurim and learn one-on-one with the working members of our community. In turn, the kavod haTorah of our baalei batim create an environment from which our kollel members draw strength. Our kollel members do not feel that they are cut off from the larger community.

At Beit Chatam, everyone is welcomed and made to feel comfortable due to the joint effort of longtime members and new families. We aim to support new families who come to Rechovot seeking an out-of-town Israeli neighborhood, while continuing to offer increasing community events and assistance to the English speaking community. Pilot Trippers and families looking to relocate within Israel find that invitations for Shabbos are offered happily, from their very first inquiry into Chatam through their absorption into the community. Members seeking extracurricular outings look forward to holiday family get-togethers, an ongoing schedule of English shiurim for both men and women, a morning kollel, ladies events, and specialty guest speakers from all over Israel, as well as a shul hall for private and family events. Friends and strangers together help with adjustment into the community, stepping in with advice, meals, and tours for those who need. Community assistance continues long past your first day – with set up meals for new mothers, a Rav who makes time for every question, and welcoming members. Each family here is taken care of.

The advantages of a small English speaking community within a larger Israeli constituency are clear. The religious amenities of Rechovot are plentiful, including religious schools and ganim, mikvaot, kosher and mehadrin stores and restaurants, availability of minyanim, and the possibility of true absorption into the Israeli community and among our neighbors, with the support and guidance of other Olim, English speakers, and like-minded community members from Chatam. The Chatam community has a wonderful proportionate range of ages among its members, from young families just starting off to retirees.

The mutual support that we give each other extends to each member of the community. We help each other. We share each other's sorrows and we participate in each other's joys.

At Chatam, we are a varied group. By us you will find knitted, suede, and velvet kippot. You will find hats and caps. Underneath each one is a Jew committed to building a life and society based on Torah.

Wed, 22 November 2017 4 Kislev 5778