Dr. Aliza Bloch, mayor of Beit Shemesh, accepted an invitation from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington to travel to America’s capital to meet with Jewish and municipal leaders from January 15-18, 2020.
“I am looking forward to my first official visit to Washington D.C., and renewing relations with the city that has such a rich history and deep relationship with Beit Shemesh” said Bloch. “I hope to share some of the solutions our city is providing to Israel’s most critical demographic challenges and learn about the issues confronting the Greater Washington Jewish community.”
"The JCRC is honored to host Mayor Bloch and learn about her experience bringing together diverse pockets of her community in Beit Shemesh," said Ron Halber, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. "We look forward to learning from Mayor Bloch, sharing with her the tremendous achievements of our own inclusive community, and deepening our connections to Israel."
During her visit, Dr. Bloch will be meeting with Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, the boards of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, and the Israeli American Council, Israeli professionals at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representatives of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, women lay leaders, and students from the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy. Mayor Bloch will be the featured speaker at a JCRC organized community-wide conversation at Beth Sholom Congregation.
Mayor Bloch made history as the first female mayor of Beit Shemesh. She unseated the 10-year incumbent haredi mayor in a close race that captured international media attention in November, 2018. Beit Shemesh has a large and rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox population, and Dr. Bloch’s victory has been studied by other cities. “The reality is that Israel in 2030 will look like Bet Shemesh in 2020 and our city is providing solutions to Israel’s most critical demographic challenge,” said Bloch.
With a current population of 132,000, Beit Shemesh is the fastest-growing city in Israel, expecting to double in size by 2025. Under the leadership of Mayor Bloch, who was named one of the world’s 50 most influential Jews by the Jerusalem Post, Beit Shemesh has ambitious plans to address the needs of its growing population. New building projects including a hospital, hotels, archaeological park, and high tech center. Innovative plans to integrate all sectors into the school system and workforce promise to transform Beit Shemesh into a leading Israeli metropolis in the 21st century.