Although the Israeli government insists on calling it “Modi’in Illit” מוֹדִיעִין עִלִּית (“Upper Modi’in”) everyone refers to this relatively new community as Kiryat Sefer (lit. “Book Town”), the name of its first neighborhood established in 1994.
The name has it’s source in the Tanachic description of the fierce battle waged by Kalev, at the head of the Tribe of Yehuda, to conquer the Canaanite city which was to bear the name Kiryat Sefer.
In keeping with its name, which means “Book Town,” each of Kiryat Sefer’s streets is named after a landmark sefer (book) written by Gedolei Yisrael. These include: Chofetz Chaim, Noda BiYehuda, Meshech Chochma, Avnei Nezer, Sdei Chemed and more.
Located in the foothills of the Judean Mountains 286 meters (938 feet) above sea level, Modi’in Illit has mild winters and hot, dry summers with temperatures averaging 30 °C (86 °F) during the day.
Kiryat Sefer is a half-hours distance (by car) from Jerusalem and is fast becoming the third largest observant community in Eretz Yisrael.
It was granted city status in 2008, the year of Establishment: 1993.
Today it has a total population of approximately 60000, making it the largest community in the area.
The city has many elementary schools and secondary schools (seminaries and yeshivas).
Achuzat Brachfeld is home to a branch of the famous Mir Yeshiva.
The Chief Rav of Modi’in Illit is Rav Meir Kessler and Rav Yaakov Gutterman, is the town’s mayor.
The town is built by private entrepreneurs on land which they had purchased privately.
The land was bought from its Arab owners, and thus a town was established on private land. This is a totally unique case in Israel.
In Modiin Illit the building contractors take care of the development on a private basis.