by Tessy Agassi
Sde Boaz is a special young community established in the summer of 2002 and is located in Gush Etzion. Driving up the curvy road between the oak and fig trees and the beautiful vines all the way to Neve Daniel, you can almost miss the little turn taking you up to Sde Boaz. The community has one of the highest altitudes of any community in Israel, which affords it the most wonderful view. You can see the mountains of Moab from the east and the chimneys of Ashkelon in the west and as you gaze to the north, Jerusalem is spread out right before your eyes. But the magnificent view is not only for pleasure — it signifies the strategic value of this location and the need to build a strong and safe community here.
After choosing Sde Boaz for its obvious advantages, the first residents discovered, just on the outskirts of the community, a ritual bath dating back to Second Temple times. This ritual bath is not only a testament to the Jewish people’s continued physical and spiritual presence in the area, but a reminder to the people of Sde Boaz why they had chosen to live where they do. It was thanks to this discovery, and the community’s proximity to Bethlehem, that residents decided to call the community Sde Boaz, or “The Field of Boaz”, named for the Biblical Boaz in the Book of Ruth.
The community prides itself on following a few basic principles as a way of life. The first one is merging oneself with nature. The homes are surrounded by vegetation and animals and the people are committed to preserving the nature as untouched as possible. There are several archaeological ruins from the Second Temple period in the area which they handle with great gentleness. All is done in the belief that loving the land of Israel means treating it with a gentle hand. Founders of the community came with the ideal of developing the Biblical Heartland, and fell in love with the nature and mesmerizing views of the area. Residents have made a commitment to developing the land in an environmentally friendly way.
Their second important focus is working the land, as the community of Sde Boaz is involved in a variety of organic agricultural initiatives, living as written in Leviticus 19 “when you enter the land and plant any tree for food…” While most residents of Sde Boaz are young professionals, academics or students, everyone finds time to work the land. Sde Boaz boasts wheat fields, corn fields, a miniature watermelon crop, and a vineyard. Residents have also established a modest farm in the community.
In addition to those fundamental principles, Sde Boaz invests the majority of its resources in creating a supportive and united community bringing together the diverse population that lives there. They have people from all walks of life: college students, young families, older people, religious and non-religious and everyone is welcome to take part in Sde Boaz.
As you can imagine this community is truly special. It continues to improve its facilities and provide programs to better their lives and attract new people.
Today Sde Boaz is made up of 22 families, with more than 40 children among them. Since these are all young families, babies are being born all the time, and there is a need to provide quality recreation for them. The people of Sde Boaz have gotten years of good use out of the community’s central playground, but it is mainly geared towards the older children. Now Sde Boaz would like to purchase playground equipment that is suitable for the younger children. The community is asking you to help to put up a swing set and a toddler jungle gym.
As our friend, you have helped us in the past and we are asking you to join us today and take part in creating a magical place for children in Sde Boaz. I would be grateful for anything you can do to help us help them.
Your donation today will provide new swings and a jungle gym specifically designed for babies and toddlers. Having a place to go that meets the development and activity needs of babies and toddlers is vitally important to families living in Sde Boaz. Community life, connecting with neighbors and friends, getting outdoors to run and play, is a central part of daily life in a Jewish community in Israel.