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Tuesday, April 25 2000 01:47 20 Nisan 5760

Ronson Building at Genesis Center: Growing Anglo-Saxon community in Beit Shemesh
By Jerusalem Post Staff

(April 16) - The dedication of the Howard M. Ronson Building on the Genesis Center campus on Monday, April 24, 2000, will do more than mark the formal relocation of Yeshivat Rashi Yerushalaim from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh.

Rather, the opening of the majestic facility, dedicated by the world-renowned British-born builder in memory of his father, Gerald, and in honor of his mother, Ann, pillars of British Jewry, will herald the development of an exciting new kirya, an Anglo-Saxon community centrally located on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem axis.

Ronson, whose philanthropy on behalf of Israel and higher education is legion, has been the prime mover and chief architect of the unprecedented growth and development of the Genesis Center. The ultramodern, fully air-conditioned three-story facility that highlights the sprawling new campus contains 20 dormitory rooms, a student lounge, a five-classroom wing, and an imposing beit midrash synagogue for independent study and communal prayers.

The facilities of the Ronson Building, the Bender Library, that also will be dedicated on April 24, and the state-of-the-art multipurpose sports complex, featuring an Olympic-size swimming pool, a fully equipped exercise room and sauna, and ultramodern sports fields, next on the drawing board, will be available to members of the Beit Shemesh community and will serve as a magnet to attract many upscale immigrants from the US, particularly from the Greater New York area.

With the four sons of Genesis Center director Rabbi Jay Marcus currently serving as founding faculty and deans at the yeshiva and with almost a dozen congregants - children of Rabbi Marcus from Staten Island - having already relocated to Beit Shemesh, the nucleus of a burgeoning new community is already in place.

Numerous others are expected to follow Rabbi Marcus, long-time spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Staten island, when he makes aliya in the near future.

To accommodate the anticipated influx of English-speaking professionals, construction of 150 American-style apartments in elevator buildings is scheduled to begin early next year. Built of Jerusalem stone to blend in aesthetically with the motif of the center and the sports complex, these apartments will offer custom-designed amenities at reasonable prices for "early bird" purchasers.

With the Genesis Center campus and its facilities as its hub, and with a magnificent hilltop that offers a spectacular view, Rabbi Marcus anticipates that Beit Shemesh will soon become "the next great city in Israel."

He adds, "Beit Shemesh will become a multigenerational community. We expect to attract not only young olim from Staten Island and the Greater New York area but also the parents and grandparents of our students who wish to spend their retirement years with their families in Israel.

"Here, where the fertile coastal plain begins its ascent

into the majestic rolling Judean hills, we are building Israel's city of the future," Rabbi Marcus asserts.

"Come join us."

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