Established in 2002, Har Homa is located in Jerusalem’s southeastern section, nestled between Talpiot and Gilo. Har Homa means “the mountain of the wall.” The “mountain” is the hill between Talpiot and Gilo where the neighborhood sits. The “wall” refers to an old Byzantine church which sits atop the mountain. The neighborhood’s official name is Homat Shmuel, named for Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir who was tragically killed in a car accident. A community of over 23,000 people (expected to grow to 30,000), Har Homa is split evenly between religious (predominantly Dati Leumi) and secular residents. About 10% of the residents are English speakers and 15% are French. A number of new building projects are underway, as well as second-hand sales. Har Homa offers residential options – from small to large apartments, and two-family homes with small gardens. As one of Jerusalem's newer neighborhoods and on the outskirts of the center, living is a bit less expensive than the center of town.
In ten short years, Har Homa has become almost a full service, self-contained neighborhood (no banks yet!), despite being only a 5–10-minute drive from the myriad of shops and services in Talpiot and Gilo. There are branches of Meuhedet, Maccabi, and Clalit health funds here as well as a Tipat Halav. The Ministry of Interior maintains an office here. The active matnas has programs for everyone. Har Homa has dozens of playgrounds, parks, and bike paths. There are private gyms and outdoor public facilities. Nearby Ramat Rachel has a pool, as does the community of Tekoa which is a 10-minute drive.
Har Homa has dozens of daycare centers and preschools – Mamlachti and Mamlachti Dati. The neighborhood's elementary schools: Ilan Ramon (TALI), Amital (Mamlachti Dati), Homat Shmuel (Mamlachti Dati Torani), and Ofarim (Mamlachti). High school students travel to other neighborhoods. The following youth movements have branches in Har Homa: Ariel, Bnei Akiva, and Ezra.
The community has over 50 different minyanim. Most are small; each caters to a specific style of prayer. Some are larger, including Congregation Homat Shmuel. Many shiurim take place on various levels – in Hebrew, French, and English. There are two mikvaot in Har Homa.
Especially for English Speakers
Har Homa’s vibrant English-speaking community makes up about 10% of the population. There are several shiurim for the English-speaking crowd, and many social events during the year. A Municipal Aliyah Center and its coordinator serve new olim in the neighborhood, at 02-6453891/6.
Bus lines connect to the center of Jerusalem, to the Central Bus Station and Givat Shaul. Two direct buses leave to Tel Aviv daily in the morning. Har Homa is near the Tunnel Road which leads to Gush Etzion and Beit Shemesh.
More of Interest
A short drive away are landmarks like Rachel’s Tomb and Herodian as well as the archaeological excavations at Ramat Rachel.