About Mitzpe Yericho
Mitzpe Yericho is a Shomer Shabbat yishuv, home to over 450 Dati Leumi/ Torani families, including about 60 English-speaking families.
Location and Climate
Mitzpe Yericho is located in the Judean desert 20 kilometers east of Jerusalem, off of Highway 1 leading to the Dead Sea. It is a 20 minute drive from Mitzpe Yericho to Jerusalem (i.e. Ramat Eshkol, Mt Scopus, French Hill). Ma’aleh Adumim is a 15-minute drive away. There is also a major shopping area, including Rami Levi supermarket, 10 minutes away in Mishor Adumim.
The Yishuv boasts breathtaking vistas of the desert and overlooks the Jordan River valley and the Dead Sea, which are about 10 minutes away. Mitzpe Yericho is part of the Binyamin Area municipality, and has its own elected board to deal with education, absorption, religious affairs, development and tourism. For satellite photos of Mitzpe Yericho, click here.
Nearby nature reserves include:
Wadi Qelt, the springs of Ein Mabua the pools of Einot Tzukim off the Dead Sea, the Qumran Caves, home of the famous Dead Sea scrolls, and Ein Gedi (40 min.).
The climate in Mitzpeh Yericho is dry, with temperatures a few degrees warmer than Jerusalem all year round. This means pleasant, moderate winters, and hot summers.
Most residents work in Jerusalem, in Maaleh Adumim, or in the Mishor Adumim industrial park (10 minutes away). About 10% of the residents are employed locally: in the local school, the Netivot Yosef yeshiva, or the small industrial park adjacent to the Yishuv. The residents of the Yishuv are engaged in a wide range of occupations: doctors and Kollel students, programmers and teachers, businessmen, tradesmen and social workers.
There are local tourist endeavors with bike and jeep tours. The local Nof HaYarden hall boasts a spectacular view of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.
When the Israelites encamped in the plains of Moab, next to the Jordan River across from Jericho (during the last weeks of Moses' life), their first view of the Land of Israel was of the Judean Hills of Mitzpe Yericho. As Joshua prepared for the conquer of Jericho, the area served as a temporary refuge for his spies; they fled up the hills to the west of Jericho after spying out the city - perhaps the hill upon which Mitzpe Yericho is situated today!
Centuries later, in the time of the Hasmonean dynasty, the moderate winter climate attracted the kings to build their winter palaces near Jericho, at the entrance to Wadi Kelt. King Herod built his own winter palace over the Hasmonean palaces. (See article on the oldest known synagogue in Israel, discovered by Prof. Netzer in 1998 in the Hasmonean winter palace.)
The modern yishuv was established in 5738 (1977). The original "Garin Yericho" was supposed to be located on government lands adjacent to Jericho. The members began setting up camp during Sukkot, but due to the objection of the Defense Minister, they were moved to Mishor Adumim. During the intermediate days of the holiday, Ariel Sharon (then Minister of Agriculture) suggested settling the barren hill Tibek Riash. Within days, the settlers established the community on that hill, living in rented mobile homes and tents. In 1981, the building of the first permanent homes began.
Education and Youth Activities
The Yishuv has a day care center (Maon), under the supervision of the municipality, and a preschool program (Gan) for pre-K & Kindergarten. There are also several after Gan programs for extended hours until 4 p.m.
The yishuv has a religious elementary school (Mamlachti Dati Torani) for grades 1 to 6 for girls, and up to 8th grade for boys. All classes are separate for boys and girls. In addition, there is a boy's Talmud Torah for grades 1-8.
Junior high girls mostly travel to Maaleh Adumim (15 min. away), Ofra/Bet El (40 min away), or Jerusalem (25 min. away).
There are extracurricular English classes for native English speaking students (see Amutat A.H.A.V.A. for details).
There is an afternoon extracurricular Talmud Torah for children grades 1 to 6, with classes in Torah, Mishna, Gemara, and Halacha.
For students third grade and up, there are activities organized by the Ezra and Ariel youth movement. The yishuv also organizes numerous chugim for children of all ages.
The Municipal Community Center (Matnas) provides many afternoon and evening clubs, such as ballet, judo, drums, etc. There are also privately run clubs for arts & crafts, musical instruments, sewing, etc.
The Yishuv is home to Yeshivat Netivot Yosef, a prestigious Torani high school, with over 400 students in the high school, Beit Midrash and Kollel. Many of the Kollel families live on the Yishuv and remain after they complete their full time learning. The Rosh HaYeshiva is Rav Shabtai Sabato.
Community and Religious Life
The chief rabbi of Mitzpe Yericho, Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, Rosh Yeshiva of HaRaayon HaYehudi in Jerusalem, gives Torah classes each evening in the central synagogue. A central Ashkenazi synagogue, located in the heart of the Yishuv, has several daily minyanim. There are also daily minyanim at a Sephardic synagogue and mixed synagogue (Yagel Yaakov).
On Shabbat and holidays, several additional minyanim are usually active, including a Shtieble, Chabad house, Yemenite, Moroccan, and a Carlebach-style minyan.
The Yishuv boasts two recently renovated Mikva'ot, one for women and one for men.
There are weekly English shiurim for men and women.
A very active Chesed committee assists residents both during celebrations and in more difficult times. There are several Gemachim on the yishuv. Some of the popular ones are a Gemach which lends out chairs, tables, plates and cutlery for events, one for baby accessories, clothing, and one Purim costumes.
Amenities / Services
There is a local grocery store Makolet) that allows for a full shopping, a second-hand clothing store, and a small eatery (pizza, falafel). There are also several home-based stores.
The local library rotates books with the Binyamin area libraries, and has a small English children’s section.
The Yishuv has its own ambulance. The nearest hospital, Hadassah (Mount Scopus), is approximately a 15-minute drive.
Two health funds (Kupat Cholim) are located on the yishuv, Clalit and Meuchedet. Both provide a full spectrum of services and doctors. Family and pediatric medicine plus specialists have several mornings where laboratory services are available.
Egged bus #216 runs approximately every 1 or 2 hours to and from Jerusalem. Many residents also offer frequent carpooling to and from Jerusalem.
The municipal plan for Mitzpe Yericho call for 1,200 housing units, with over 250 new units being build by 2025. We hope the new community swimming pool will open soon.
Contacts for More Information
Yishuv Office 02-535-3613 firstname.lastname@example.org
For English-speakers: Yeshaya Danny Moskowitz
Cell: 058-646-1321 US number: 516-302-7333