We’re two years in, and we’ve got a long journey ahead. So what are we doing, and what do we need to do to get our town?

When we started out, we barely knew a thing. Okay, we didn’t know anything. We had one email address for someone who might be able to help us, but that was it. We quickly learned the main thing we’d need: help from Above.

Thankfully, G-d gave us plenty of that, and still does, in ways that can be quite obvious sometimes. We were also glad to find plenty of compilations of instructions from the Rebbe and Previous Rebbe on how to build a Chabad town or neighbourhood (including a book compilation of directives given to Kfar Chabad). Reading through the Rebbe’s instructions helped us develop our vision and goals for Neve Chabad, down to the really practical ideas.

So, remember that one email address we had? We met him, he was really nice. He gave us a few more connections, you know, Israel style. Anyway, we met a bunch of people, they all said the same thing: the only people who know how to build new towns these days are the people at OR Movement.

OR Movement built 8 new towns so far, and they’ve got a few more coming up. They also revived over 60 towns that were headed towards extinction. So we went to meet them and asked for a new town.

They told us it couldn’t be done.

We quickly learned another ingredient needed for making a new town: chutzpah. We insisted, and they complemented us on our determination. Several meetings in, and we learned of the overwhelmingly long list of things that needed to be done to get a new town – if the process went unusually smoothly.

The first thing they told us to do, was to form a “Garin” aka “Seed Group” aka “Pioneer Group” aka “A Bunch of Families Crazy Enough to Just Do This.” Check. Now our Neve Chabad group became an OR Movement Garin, and we were ready to roll. All the way to our new town.

From here, the process split into two simultaneous and equally important tracks.

Track A: Land development. This is where OR Movement are the experts. It’s also where things need to be really hush. OR Movement is helping us find and develop a location. It’s a long process, plenty tricky, and could take anywhere between two and ten years, or even more, until it’s ready for construction. (Of course, we’re praying for two.) All we can say, is that we’re really happy with how things are going, and thankful to OR Movement for pushing us forward along every challenging step.

Track B: Community development. Remember the Garin thing? It’s the core of everything. The Garin becomes the community that shapes the history and future of our town. What the atmosphere is like, the G-dliness and chassidishkeit of the community, the happiness and respect amongst the people, the calm – it’s all up to the founding Garin. The Garin begins to bring the vision of the town alive, even before we get on land. Plans of shiurim, kid clubs, chessed, shlichus, and a close-knit community don’t need to wait until houses are built. They all began already, and continue to grow everyday in Be’er Sheva with our inspiring Garin.

Neve Chabad Girls
Neve Chabad Mivtzoyim

Developing the community also means finding young families that will contribute to the future of Neve Chabad with pure motives; that are energised by the mission of the group; and are motivated to travel through thick and thin in harmony with every person in the team.

So, what does it take to build a new town?

G-d. Wise advice. Vision. OR Movement. Chutzpah. A strong Garin. Determination. And, preparedness for the many challenges up ahead.

Because of course, the biggest climbs lead to the highest of peaks.