Sitting in the Sukkah with Gen Z’ers the conversation diverted from small talk niceties to
Beit Shemesh politics.
I was shocked at the pessimism.
Our streets will never be cleaned.
There will never be enough buses.
Our schools will never be a priority.
Our soldiers will never feel comfortable being seen in town, dressed in uniform.
You have to understand, Yocheved, “Beit Shemesh is a turning into hardei city. Anyone that does not identify as haredi will never feel comfortable.”
Things will never change.
The (two-time incumbent) Mayor of Beit Shemesh, Moshe Abutbul will never be stopped.
You are lucky that you don’t live here. There is no hope for Beit Shemesh.
In the eyes of our future generation, Beit Shemesh was awash in darkness.
Daybreak in Beit Shemesh
On Tuesday, October 30, the residents of Beit Shemesh saw the light.
They dared to dream.
Supporters of Dr. Aliza Bloch rushed to vote.
Defying public expectations, others stayed home in silent protest.
The votes were counted.
The votes were recounted.
Early Thursday morning, with the votes of the soldiers, Dr. Aliza Bloch, announced her victory, as the new mayor of Beit Shemesh.
According to NYTimes’ journalist David Halbfinger,
the election this week of women as mayor – with the support of thousands of ultra-Orthodox voters who defied their rabbis to support her – was felt across this hilly city like nothing less than an earthquake
Dawn in Beit Shemesh
It is still early.
The first blush of the rising sun is visible.
The residents of Beit Shemesh are glowing.
They are beginning to see a brighter tomorrow. Filled with hope. Optimism. Confidence. Radiance.
Dr. Aliza Bloch, the newly elected mayor of Beit Shemesh, promised
from now on, the city will become a model for all of Israel. We’ve realized that we share a common goal that unites us
Daylight in Beit Shemesh
Hoping to gain insight, into the transformation stemming from the razor-thin victory, I approached Beit Shemesh resident, fellow oleh, community leader and former Yesh Atid Knesset member, Rabbi Dov Lipman.
According to Rabbi Dov Lipman, Dr. Aliza Bloch’s victory was not a given.
Approaching the elections, his thoughts, sadly mirrored those of the pessimistic teenagers.
Rabbi Lipman believes that Dr. Bloch’s winning personality and campaign goals proved to the residents of Beit Shemesh, that there can be a brighter future.
“I was always inspired by Aliza and her message. I didn’t recognize how influential and persevering she was. I have always believed that we could unify behind what unites us and it took a leader with Aliza’s sincerity and authenticity to make it happen.”
Dr. Bloch gave Beit Shemesh hope.
Unity as opposed to division.
Fair delivery of municipal services to all residents.
Increased employment opportunities by attracting new employers, to the city.
Helping olim better integrate into society.
“I always believed that things were going to change for the better in Israeli society because I am actively involved in the integration of Haredim into Israeli society. I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly and I didn’t realize how many Haredim in Bet Shemesh had already changed their perspective from following whatever the rabbis tell them to do to what do they think is best for them.”
Rabbi Lipman is hopeful for the future of Beit Shemesh as well as the entire country.
As a voice against religious coercion and ultra-orthodox extremism, Rabbi Lipman, is a strong proponent of the continued integration of hardeim into Israeli society, both in the military and in the workplace.
He is confident that under the direction of Beit Shemesh’s newly elected mayor, Aliza Bloch, the future of Beit Shemesh is bright and will continue to benefit from further integration of haredim into society.
The numbers don’t lie. There are more Haredim in the army than ever before, in higher education than ever before and working than ever before. These young men become more moderate and tolerant and raise families with those values. So as time goes along, this trend will continue throughout Israel, and we will be able to unite as a people and solve many if not all of the tensions in Israel related to religion and state.
Morning in Beit Shemesh
Cloudy days worry us.
Stormy nights, are challenging.
We strive to make the world a better, brighter place for the next generation, our children.
That afternoon in the Sukkah was dark, I felt the gloomy pessimism and hopelessness expressed by our teenagers.
The next generation.
Rays of sunshine, broke through the clouds, last Friday morning.
Daydreamers, like Dr. Aliza Bloch, Rabbi Dov Lipman and all of their supporters brightened up the city of Beit Shemesh.
For the elderly.
For the parents.
For the teenagers.
For the kids.
For the babies.
For the future.
Beit Shemesh – The House of the Rising Sun
Things will change.
The streets will be cleaner.
The schools will be a priority.
The young girls will be able to skip to the candy store.
The soldiers will walk through the city dressed in uniform.
Beit Shemesh will become a model of unity, harmony, and light for all of Israel.
To go downtown.
And to hang around.
The House of the Rising Sun