Ma’aleh Adumim: A Central Jerusalem Suburb
Ma’aleh Adumim is an attractive suburb of Jerusalem located just three miles east of Jerusalem’s city limits. It offers the benefits of a city – including a mall, strong intra-city public transportation, a sports complex, a large library with an extensive English book collection, a new art museum – and the advantages of a small town, with clean, palm tree-lined streets and panoramic desert views.
The city’s name is derived from the book of Joshua, where Ma’aleh Adumim is described as a border area between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The name, which literally means “red heights,” is a perfect fit, as the city is situated 600 meters above sea level and its rock formations have red hues.
The third largest community in Yehuda and Shomron (Yesha) with almost 40,000 residents, Ma’aleh Adumim is known for its high quality of life, with a first-rate school system boasting one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country and excellent government services. Some residents work within Ma’aleh Adumim’s industrial zone which houses over 120 factories, but most commute twenty to thirty minutes to the center of Jerusalem.
The city is comprised of religious (primarily Dati Leumi – national religious), secular, and traditional (Mesorati) Jews. There are over 40 Ashkenazi and Sefaradi shuls, a kollel, and several learning programs for men and women. The Hesder Yeshiva, Birkat Moshe, serves as a spiritual center, and members of its staff offer classes to the community.
The city is comprised of seven neighborhoods, three of which have a significant Anglo presence, the largest being Mitzpe Nevo, a religious community with 35% English speakers. Rabbi Nahum Schnitzer, a Mitzpe Nevo resident since 1986 and librarian in the municipal library, explained that his neighborhood, with its many religious, social and support programs, has the warmth and camaraderie of a yishuv without the isolation and limited services that yishuv life sometimes entails.
Originally a military settlement, in 1975 Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin approved a plan to upgrade the area and build a new residential community. Ma’aleh Adumim and its neighboring communities encompass a total of 48,000 dunams (or 12,000 acres), of which less than 15% has been developed. The municipality’s footprint is enormous! In comparison, Tel Aviv, with a population of over 350,000 people, is built on 51,000 dunams, and Modi’in – population 80,000 and growing – is roughly the same size with 50,000 dunams.
With such tremendous demand for housing near Jerusalem, what’s holding up the development of these large swaths of land? One word: Politics. Ma’aleh Adumim, along with most other Yesha communities, have endured several construction freezes over the past three years, causing an uneven flow of new housing stock into the market. Hopefully construction will continue unabated, affording many people the opportunity to enjoy living in this lovely Jerusalem suburb.
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