Jewish development of the area around Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem is being stepped up. In addition to the Bnei Rachel yeshiva and Beit Medrash (study hall) located on the premises, the Uvneh Yerushalayim organization reports that two stores adjacent to the property are in the process of being converted into a visitors' center. Two families are scheduled to move in to the apartments upstairs within a few weeks. Other work is also continuing apace.

Today, a few dozen people celebrated a double Bar Mitzvah celebration at Rachel's Tomb. David Bodner, son of Joey and Ruthie Bodner of Teaneck, New Jersey, celebrated together with Moshe Peretz of Beit She'an. Moshe's father David was murdered by terrorists at a Likud primaries election polling station in November 2002. Moshe's mother and three siblings joined the group today as they traveled from Rachel's Tomb to Hevron for the afternoon prayer, then to Gush Etzion, and then to the Western Wall for the evening prayer, and then to Yeshivat Beit Orot in the Mt. Scopus area of eastern Jerusalem for a festive meal.

"I thank G-d for the opportunity of celebrating this special day in this manner," Mr. Bodner said, "as it is something that I have been preparing for and hoping to do for many years."

The Torah scroll at the site, dedicated by the Rachel's Children Reclamation Foundation, is kept in a Holy Ark with a curtain memorializing Rabbi Dr. David Appelbaum and his daughter Nava. The curtain is made of material from the wedding gown of Nava, who was murdered by terrorists in Jerusalem last September on the night before she was to be married.

Public bus #163 leaves the Jerusalem Bus Station for Rachel's Tomb several times a day.