[Photo Credit: Aviva Morris]
Kochav Ya’akov (Star of Jacob) is a diverse religious Israeli community in the Benyamin region.The town has absorbed immigrants from North and South America, France, and more. It is not uncommon to walk around and hear English, Russian, French, Spanish, Amharic and, of course, Hebrew. It is located between the biblical cities of Ramah and Beit El, about 15 minutes north of Jerusalem and offers a stunning view of the Judean hills.
Kochav Ya’akov has a high quality of life. It boasts good schools, beautiful homes and a feeling of close community. The community was first established in 1985 by the Amana settlement movement and was initially called Abir Ya’akov after Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira, a leading Moroccan-Jewish rabbi of the 19th century. In 1988, its name was changed to Kochav Ya’akov, as it is called today.
In March 2013 Shoham Simchia founded a heritage and tourism site, which promotes the legacy of Yemenite Jewry.The Yemen Gallery in Kochav Ya’akov is home to an art gallery and a workshop that recreates the life of Yemen’s Jews. The building itself is designed in the spirit of traditional Yemenite architecture.
There are several primary and secondary school in Kochav Ya’akov, including a post-high school religious seminary. It also is home to many local businesses including a carpentry shop, welding workshop, garage, pizza store and falafel restaurant. There are also more private shops, a pergola factory, goldsmiths, and handmade crafts.
The community is mostly composed of Hardal (Ultra-Orthodox/National Religious) and Dati Leumi (National Religious) families. Tel Tzion, a separate neighborhood in Kochav Yaakov, is home to mainly Haredi families. The residents of Kochav Ya’akov and Tel Tzion mix regularly, attending one another’s synagogues and classes.
It is organized as a community settlement and falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. In 2016 it had a population of 7,394. The community is located in Samaria, in the portion of Israel that was designated for the tribe of Benjamin.