• Gedaliah Borvick

Kiryat Moshe: Harmonious Diversity

Bird's Eye View of Kiryat Moshe (Hovev, Public Domain)

Kiryat Moshe is a charming tree-lined community located in western Jerusalem between the central bus station to the east and Givat Shaul to the west.

The neighborhood is named for the British philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, whose charitable fund provided a loan to establish the community in 1923. Kiryat Moshe is actually the last of six Jerusalem neighborhoods that were established by Montefiore’s fund, and was called “New Montefiore” to distinguish it from the neighborhood Yemin Moshe, which was founded in 1892 and aptly dubbed “Old Montefiore.”

The founders of Kiryat Moshe were dati leumi (national religious), many of whom were rabbis and leaders of the Mizrachi movement. Ninety years later, Kiryat Moshe is an accepting and diverse community comprised of dati leumi, charedi leumi (national ultra-orthodox, also known by the acronym “chardal”), charedi and secular families. Its residents are primarily native Israelis, plus there are many French and American olim. In fact, 30% of the residents are English speakers.

Kiryat Moshe is home to several prominent educational institutions, including Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook, which was established in 1924 by the founding father of the Israel Chief Rabbinate, Harav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook. Between the yeshiva and its kollel, the institution has over 700 students. Another famous yeshiva is Machon Meir, which for the past forty years has been the address for Jews of all backgrounds to learn about their Jewish roots. The yeshiva has over 500 students, and offers classes in Hebrew, English, Russian, French and Spanish.

A legendary community landmark is Angel Bakery, which is situated on the border of Kiryat Moshe and Givat Shaul. Opened in 1958, Angel is the country’s largest bakery and has a 750-foot pipeline which conveys flour directly from the mill across the street. This pipeline transports 120 tons of flour to the bakery daily! Visiting the bakery on a Saturday night is always a fun outing, with lines of customers often spilling out the door. And after the conclusion of Pesach, Angel is the place to be! (Just remember to be patient as the lines are huge.)

Here’s a twist to the classic stories of people receiving blessings from the rebbe before major life events: Over the years, many people considering buying an apartment in Kiryat Moshe would approach Israel’s former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l - who lived in Kiryat Moshe - for guidance and a blessing. However, Rav Eliyahu would always direct these potential purchasers to his wife, who was attuned to the neighborhood’s real estate market and better qualified to offer advice. In fact, a number of years ago my partner Eliezer uncovered a great buying opportunity in Kiryat Moshe for his clients. He fondly recalled that the family would not sign the contract to purchase the apartment until the Rabbanit gave her approval and blessings - which she readily did, once she heard the details of the transaction.

Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home, a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. To sign up for his monthly market updates, contact him at gborvick@gmail.com.

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