Karmiel (Hebrew: ####) is a city in the north of Eretz Yisroel, located in the Beit HaKerem valley.
From a general population of over 55,000, there are about 300 Chareidi families, of which about 50 are Anglo. The Chareidi community is diverse, including Yeshivish, Chassidish, balebatish, and Sephardic. It is a very close knit community.
There are three neigborhoods where Chareidi families live. the Dromit neighborhood is in the center of town and about 60% of the Chareidim live there, It is where the majority of the shuls, schools and Kollels are located. The housing there is mixed with apartments, duplex and fourplexes and single family homes. About a 15-20 minute walk from there is the Rabin/ Makosh neighborhoods. About 30% of the Chareidim live there. There is one central shul Matan Nachliel there that is mixed with Chareidim, Daati Leumi, and Anglos. About 1/2 of the anglo community lives in that neighborhood. The last neigborhood is near the entrance to town the old neighborhood and that is where the newer yeshiva community of Orchos Hatorah and its Kollel families live. That is where the remaining 10% of Chareidi families live. It is primarily apartments. There are other neighborhoods such as Givat Ram and the Maaravit where the are a few Chareidi families living as well.
There is also a new community of about 60 young Israeli Chareidi families (including a sprinkling of English-speakers), with more on their way. Most are avreichim. This community is centered around a branch of Yeshivas Orchos Torah of Bnei Brak (R' Shteinman's yeshivah).
There is also a baalei-teshuva population in Karmiel which consists of Israeli Sephardic and Ashkenazi families.
Rav Margalit is rav of the city. He is a talmid of Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L. He built the Chareidi community from scratch, and started all of the mosdos hatorah in the city. He is well respected and liked by all religious and non-religious and provides leadership and vision for the community. He is kiruv-oriented. He does not speak English. He is generally the final say on all that happens in the city.
Rav Kaniel is the Israeli Rav in the Rabin neighborhood. He is a student of Rav Margalit and is very active in building and growing his shul and community. having built a recent additiion and new mikva. He as well serves as the menahel of the Cheder.
Rav Eitan Kaufman is the Rav of the "Avreichim Minyan" Meor Hagalil in the Dromit neighborhood. He is the Rosh Kollel and is a hebrew Speaker.
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz is the Rav of the Young Israel of Karmiel, . He is an American Oleh who was a Kiruv Rav in various communities in America before moving to Karmiel in 2010. Him and his wife were from the founding members of the newer wave of American Olim and assist many in planning their Aliya and settling in to the community.
The main community Shul in the Dromit neighborhood (which is the primary Chareidi area is an Ashkenazi Chareidi shul, located in the center of the city, attended by mostly native Israelis is Kerem Michael. It serves as the limited "shteeblach" in town with multiple minyanim for Shacharis and other tefillos. They daven Nusach Sefard for main minyan
Meor HaGalil has Israeli and Anglo and Israeli bnai torah baalabatim and native Chariedi Kollel families, hey daven a yeshivish Nusach Ashkenaz.
Keren Ami- led by Reb Binyamin Hakarmi and Reb Moshe Shteinberg was founded as a Russian Kiruv minyan but the shul today is primarily made up of anglo and chariedi baalabatim. They daven nusach Ashkenaz
Young Israel of Karmiel, is really a Young Israel in name only as it serves more like a shteeble. They daven nusach Sefard, Friday night is Carlebach style and Rabbi Schwartz speaks in hebrew in the weekly drashos. The shul is a mix of Chariedi families, Anglo and Israeli Baalabatim as well as Daati Leumi locals.
In the Rabin Neighborhood Matan Nachliel, Rav Kaniel's shul, is the primary shul for most of the residents. They daven nusach sefard, the shul is a mix of chareidi Israeli and American baalabatim and Kollel Families as well as many Daati Leumi families ashkenaz and Sefard. The shul offers a wide array of classes and learning programs as well as Kiruv programs in hebrew.
The Chariedi institutions were all founded by Rav Margalit and are all around his network called Keren Orah yet they act as independent schools with their own hanalahs.
Currently there are two elementary schools. The Talmud Torah or Cheder is in style of a typical Israeli Cheder with primarily Kollel families and a takanon in that style, a limited Limudei Chol and the majority of the Children continue on to Yeshivos Ketana for "high school" without limudei chol.
in 2016 Chafetz Chaim Talmud Torah (no connection the United States CC school system at all) was founded with a strong Limudie Kodesh and Limudie Chol program. The student body ranges from Bnai Torah working families that are Chareidi and CharDaL (the more right wing Daati Leumi). the faculty is all chareidi and it is a Chinuch Atzmai school. As of 2020 the school is from 1-4 grade. Many of the Rebbeim are English speakers and many of the Americans send their children to this school, while the Anglo Kollel families send to the the Cheder school.
For girls there is only one school; Amichai. it is a Chinuch Atzmai school and is Chariedi run. The student body is a broad mix with the majority of the students from chareidi families, but certainly a large part of the school is from working families, Daati Leumi families, Askenazi and Sefardi. As well the school serves many of the children from outside of Karmiel that commute daily to the school. The school does have help for Olim children and there are staff members and teachers that are English speakers.
Amichai has a boys school which is being phased out and replaced with Chafetz Chaim. For families with children in these older grades Amichai is an option that has some Balabatish families, Daati Leumi and Baalei Teshuva or Mitkarvim.
There is a local Yeshiva Ketana that services a large part of the graduates from the cheder, For those that want a black hat yeshiva high school with limudei chol (called a yeshiva tichoni.) then one has to go out of town.
As well there is Orchos Hatorah for Bais Medrash age boys that has a Kollel. The majority of the student body is from out of town, and only a small percentage of the Bais Medrash age boys stay in town. This is more for reasons for the local boys wanting the "out of town" learning experience rather than for reasons of the level of learning in the yeshiva which is considered a very good yeshiva.
There are special needs school as well called Machon Orot.
Groups & Programs
The young new Chareidi community has also a kollel run by R' Eitan Kaufman.
There are numerous Daf Yomi Shiurim in town, as well as one in English
There is a small N'shei for the women who get together once a month for english video shiurim from Tifferet
There are local weekly food distribution (chalukas) for needy families that provides many of the basic staples for needy or large families free of charge.
Geography & Climate
Located in the Beit HaKerem valley dividing the uper and lower Galil. 32 km from Tzefas (35 min), 15 km from Meron (20 min) 35 km from Teveria (40 min), and 20 km from Akko (20 min). Haifa is 45 km away (40 min).
Hotter than Yerushalayim and humid.
This is a Mountainous region surrounded by many nachals, forests and hills.
Karmiel is a very clean city (Each street has a city worker that come each morning with a broom to clean the streets)
There are numerous parks every few blocks and one large park called Park Hamishpacha which is one of the largest in the North many fun activities including a corn maze, balls for children to play in, life size chess and outdoor bowling.
Karmiel has a variety of different types of houses. From the many apartment buildings to long rows of attached homes with separate entrances and private yards. There are also a number of private houses which can get quite large.
There are frequent daily buses to Haifa, and bus and group taxi (sherut) transportation to the train in Akko. There is also daily direct bus service to Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv as well as excellent local inter and intra-city transportation available.
Five routes cover the whole city, and buses are very punctual- every 20 minutes.
There are buses to anywhere in the north, and to Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak a few times a day.
From Karmiel to Yerushalayim is 2 hours by car and by 2.5 hours by bus.
Owning a car definitely makes getting around easier but it really depends where you live in the city.
There is a train that goes to Tel Aviv (and from there to Yerushalayim) as well as Chaifa which is quite frequent.
There is no specific industry in Karmiel, but being the second largest city in the Galile (after Chaifa) it has many jobs as any large city would. Speaking hebrew though is much more essential in the North of Israel though, than it is in the center, as there are not as many employers that are looking for non-hebrew speakers. At the same time one who does have conversational hebrew in addition to their native english will find that is a skill that is in more demand here, becasue of the lack of English speakers.
There are many that commute to Chaifa or Tel Aviv even for work on the local train and others that telecommute or work American jobs online.
Being a full fledged city, Karmiel boasts many supermarkets, malls, and almost any type of store. There are a handful of the clothing stores are suitable from the frum residents, some even with American clothing as well as Gemachs that have quality second hand clothing. Yet there is certainly not the plethora one would find in larger Chariedi cities where many travel to purchase modest clothing.
There are large local Supermarkets that carry full mehadrin lines as well there are local Makolets that carry all of the premium Hashgachas meats and poultry. There is a local makolet that carries many "American" products as well.
There is a large Outlet strip Mall called "The Big" on the outskirts of Karmiel as well as a few malls.
There are no local mehadrin premium Hashgacha flayshig eating establishment, there are however a few pizza, falafel, cafes Dairy options as well a local Badatz Bakery.
Israel’s four kupot cholim all maintain clinics in the city. In addition, Karmiel has dental clinics, eye clinics, and private clinics. The city has a number of English-speaking medical practitioners.
Karmiel is about a half hour away from Ziv Medical Center in Tzfat and from the Western Galilee hospital in Nahariya, and about an hour away from Rambam medical center in Haifa. There is a Terem clinic in Karmiel which provides urgent care and is equipped with an on-site imaging center and laboratory services which provide immediate results.
Community Codes and Standards
Being a large community and city there are no iron-clad codes and standards. Each person is encouraged to grow and learn at their own pace. And it is a generally non-judgemental city where most shuls and schools contain people from all backgrounds and standards.
Karmiel is a primarily Israeli city and not geared for Americans, although that doesn’t stop them from coming. The many olim who come have to be ready for the challenge of learning the language and integrating into society. The schools though have gotten used to the influx of Olim and have programs and Ulpan for the children to learn the language assist them with integration.The residents are very welcoming and helpful and there are local tutors. There is an Ulpan for adults but it isn’t a Chareidi establishment.
Karmiel is for those that are looking for a more "out of Town" community, where you have all the amenities of living in a big city but with a sense of being part of a community.
It offers the ability to integrate into in Israel and is not for those that are looking for a mini-America with many English speaking classes, shiurim and organizations.
It is a city where one can make a kiddush Hashem daily in your interaction with non-religious neighbors who have good relations with the Chareidi community. The Deputy Mayor of the city is Chareidi.
It is also a place where housing is more affordable than in the center of the country and one certainly gets more for their money in terms of space.
It is a beautiful part of the country. The North of Israel is like the "Catskills" and in the summer Vacationers from all over stay in the north. The pace of life in Karmiel is more slow paced for those that appreciate that lifestyle.
There are many Bnai Torah and the community is growing exponentially each year with that their will be many opportunities for employment, services, and the expansion of the current educational institutions.
Mrs Sprei- 054 857 1604
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz- 050 597 0649
Eretz Chemdah article - "Affordabiliy, Integration and Simplicity"