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Bnei Brak (or Bene Beraq) ( , ) is a city located on Israelmarker's central Mediterraneanmarker coastal plain, just east of Tel Avivmarker, in the Dan metropolitan regionmarker and Tel Aviv Districtmarker.

Bnei Brak covers an area of 7,088 dunams. According to figures of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics for 2007, the population was 151,000, with an annual growth rate of 2.0%. Bnei Brak is one of the poorest and most densely populated cities in Israel.


Bnei Brak takes its name from the ancient Beneberakmarker, which was not in the same location.

Bnei Brak was founded as an agricultural settlement in 1924 by Rabbi Yitzchok Gerstenkorn and a group of Polish chasidim. Due to a lack of land many of its founders turned to other occupations, and the village began to develop an urban character. Its first rabbi was Rabbi Arye Mordechai Rabinowicz, a descendant of the Yaakov Yitzchok Rabinowicz, known as Yid HaKodosh, and formerly the rabbi of Kurówmarker in Polandmarker. He was succeeded as rabbi of Bnei Brak by Rabbi Yosef Kalisz, a scion of the Vurker dynasty.

The town was set up as a religious settlement from the outset, as is evident from this description of the pioneers:
Their souls were revived by the fact that they merited what their predecessors had not. What particularly revived their weary souls in the mornings and toward evening, when they would gather in the beis medrash situated in a special shack which was built immediately upon the arrival of the very first settlers, for tefilla betzibbur (communal prayer) three times a day, for the Daf Yomi shiur, and a Gemara shiur and an additional one in Mishnayos and the Shulchan Oruch.

Bnei Brak was declared a city in 1950.

Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz (known as the Chazon Ish) settled in Bnei Brak in its early days, attracting a large following. Rabbi Yaakov Landau, chief rabbi of Bnei Brak between 1936 and 1986, helped to make it an important religious center. Other leading rabbis who have lived in Bnei Brak are Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky ("the Steipler"), Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (Ponevezh Rov) and Rabbi Elazar Menachem Mann Shach. Currently famous rabbis who reside in Bnei Brak are Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz.
Vizhnitz Chasidim in Bnei Brak
Bnei Brak is also a major hasidic center. Already in the early 1950s, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Meir Hager, founded a large neighborhood in Bnei Brak, which continues to serve as a dynastic center under his son, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager (the present Vizhnitzer Rebbe).

The population consists predominantly of Ashkenazi Haredi Jews; Sefardi Haredi Jews constitute a significant minority.

Beginning in the 1960s, the rebbes of the Ruzhin dynasty (Sadigura, Husiatyn, Bohush), who had formerly lived in Tel Aviv, moved to Bnei Brak. In the 1990s they were followed by the rebbe of Modzhitz. Unlike the former four Gerrer rebbes, who lived in Jerusalem, the current rebbe (since 1996) is a Bnei Brak resident. the rebbes of Alexander, Biala-Bnei-Brak, Koydanov, Machnovke, Nadvorne, Premishlan, Radzin, Shomer Emunim. Slonim-Schwarze, Strykov, Tchernobil, Trisk-Bnei-Brak, Zutshke — to name only some of them.

Until the 1970s, the Bnei Brak municipality was headed by Religious Zionist mayors. After Mayor Gottlieb of the National Religious Party was defeated, Haredi parties grew in status and influence; since then they have governed the city. As the Haredi population grew, the demand for public religious observance increased and more residents requested the closure of their neighbourhoods to vehicular traffic on the Shabbat. When they demanded the closure of a main street (HaShomer St. now Kahaneman St.), the non-religious residents protested but the town's religious inhabitants won the battle. Since then, their influence in the city continuously grew.

In a short period of time most of Bnei Brak's secular and Religious Zionist residents migrated elsewhere, and the city has become almost homogeneously Haredi. The city has one secular neighbourhood, Pardes Kats. Names of streets that had had a Zionist connotation were changed and named after prominent Haredi figures, the most recent and final change being the renaming of Herzl St. to HaRav Shach St. The Israeli flag is barely seen in Bnei Brak, since the State of Israel is seen as a secular entity; however, it is certain to be seen flying atop the Ponevezh yeshiva, as the practice was originally instituted by Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, in order to allow the yeshiva to obtain government funding. Bnei Brak is one of the two poorest cities in Israel.

Bnei Brak has multiple chief rabbis, catering to different groups in the city. The most important are Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau, and Rabbi Nissim Karelitz.
  • Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau is a respected authority on Jewish law and kashrut supervision. Rabbi Moshe Landau took office after the death of his father, Chief Rabbi Yaakov Landau in 1986. The Landau family is somewhat affiliated with Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism. The "Rav Landau" hechsher (kosher supervision) is widely accepted as one of the best in Israel, relied on by almost all religious Jews in Israel.
  • Rabbi Nissim Karelitz is Chief Rabbi (av beis din) of the Lithuanian Haredi population of the city. He leads a beth din that includes both Lithuanian Haredi and Hasidic dayan, called She'aris Yisroel, which is also a hechsher (kosher supervision).

Bnei Brak is home to Israel's first women-only department store.

Bnei Brak is noted for its abundance of self-help and volunteer organizations. Several organizations help the ill, special needs population, and the poor. There are also available abudant articles to be borrowed free of charge, from extra baby beds, electric drills, paint rollers, to bridal dresses.

At the instigation of the Chazon Ish, the Bnei Brak municipality set up an alternative water supply, for use on Shabbat and Yom tov. This supply, which does not require intervention by Jews on days of rest, avoids the problems associated with Jews working on the day of rest at the national water company Mekorot.


The city has a population of about 147,100 residents (as of September 2006), the majority of whom are Haredi Jews. It also has the largest population density of any city in Israel, with . In the 2006 Israeli legislative elections, 89% of the voters chose Haredi parties, and another 7% voted for other religious parties. While the city does not have an official 'religious' status, the migration and development of the population has led to two distinct sections: The northern part of the city as well as the extremities have a significant non-religious minority population while the core of the city is almost entirely religious. While this religious population used to be mainly Religious Zionist, it is now almost exclusively Haredi.

A large part of this religious part of the city is completely closed off to vehicular traffic during the Shabbat (from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday). Virtually all stores in the city are under some form of rabbinical supervision, and not a single store is open during Shabbat.

Mayors of Bnei Brak

Mayors of Bnei Brak include:


One of the landmarks of Bnei Brak is the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Kahaneman St. It is owned by the Central Bottling Company (CBC), which has held the Israeli franchise for Coca-Cola products since 1968. It is among Coca-Cola's ten largest single-plant bottling facilities worldwide. According to Dun's 100, "CBC's dedication to excellence and innovative technologies in all areas of its operations has won it prizes from the US-based Coca-Cola Company, as well as recognition and accolades from various public institutions for its environmental-friendly operation and ongoing community service".

Two major factories which dominated the centre of Bnei Brak for many years were the Dubek cigarette factory and the Osem food factory. As the town grew they found themselves in the middle of a residential area; both left the area. Osem's main factory is now located on Jabotinsky road in Petah Tikvamarker, just next to Bnei Brak.


  1. No walk in the park in Bnei Brak


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