Charedim and The Gap

Apologies for causing an unwarranted adrenalin surge in some of our readers who may be hostile to our Israeli cousins. This will not be an expose about black-hatted people on the dole squandering public funds at upscale clothiers. Most charedim in Israel never heard of The Gap. But then again, most of them don’t know enough about the other gap, the one we are going to talk about. And it does make a catchier title than “Are They All Really Resha’im, Part Two,” which is what the piece is really about.

You may know the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) by its colloquial name, Machon Lev, after the founder of the venerable institution of applied science, Prof. Zev Lev z”l, a former ben-bayis of Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky z”l. JCT students combine Torah learning and the pursuit of their academic careers. In other words, it has been mostly avoided by charedim, at least until recently. JCT took a leadership position in not only welcoming charedi students, but in creating special options for them that would respect their sensitivities and needs.

On one particular day, six JCT students were selected to be interviewed by Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister (often seen in the charedi world as hostile), who was visiting the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) together with the head of the Council of Higher Education. One of the interviewees had learned in Ponovezh for seven years. He told them, “I am now completing a BSc in electro-optics and I already have my own start-up. I came to Machon Lev to find a way to earn a living and I am happy I came, but, I would much prefer to still be sitting and learning. I hope to be successful enough so that my sons can just sit and learn”. One of the girls (unmarried) said: “I came to Machon Lustig (JCT’s separate program for charedi women) so that I can support my future family so that my future husband can just sit and learn.”

The moral of the story according to JCT’s new President is “The most successful way to impact the current situation is not to drag people kicking and screaming out of the beis medrash but rather to offer them good options for getting respectable, well-paid, employment while being trained in a ‘chareidi friendly’ setting.”

Judging from some of the murmurings in the last few days from Israel’s Supreme Court, that conclusion is lost on them, as well as on many of the populist politicians who will sacrifice long-term benefits to Israeli society for short-term votes. (Noteworthy, among other misadventures, is the recent failure of a Knesset bill to ban discrimination in the workplace against charedim. The result, of course, will be more people taking refuge behind the argument that what purpose can there be in diluting our chinunch by adding the core curriculum, when we won’t be able to land jobs anyway, since they all hate us.) The campaign to finally break the charedim has only succeeded in empowering the most rejectionist parts of the charedi world, while convincing the rest of it to dig in and resist the coming assault.

Unfortunately, assuming that the experience of the two interviewees described above is typical might be mistaken. It could be overly optimistic. JCT’s President Dr Chaim Sukenik (the former Dean of Exact Sciences at Bar-Ilan, and an old friend who is decidedly not hostile to charedim) acknowledged that the success rate of his mechina program (which is already self-selecting for more motivated students) is only about 50%. The culprit is The Gap: all the knowledge and skills that are needed to succeed that are not in place for people who have been learning full-time till age 25 or 30 without acquiring any secular studies at all. Not all people can bridge that gap. Those who tell themselves that they will quickly be able to compensate for what they are missing when they are finally forced by circumstances out of the beis medrash are not fully engaging reality. (Ironically, perhaps, many people in the US charedi community are making the same mistake, believing that they can easily make up for lost time. Many find out too late that they cannot.)

How has the ill-advised behavior of the politicians and the overheated rhetoric of Yair Lapid impacted programs to help charedim? Dr. Sukenik wrote to me: “Overall, the Chareidi men will tell you that the political pressure has made life a little bit more complicated, but, at the end of the day, the process that we have seen over the past ten years, is continuing. Our women’s program in Ramat Gan adjacent to Bnei Brak hit a bump in the road with this year’s registration due to severe rabbinic pressure that the girls not get an academic degree but in the end the numbers stayed stable.”

It would also be a mistake to assume that everyone outside of the charedi community who is working on the revision of the draft law shares in the blood lust. For many people, the work goes on to find ways that will be as accommodating as possible to those men and women within the charedi world who wish to find ways to enlarge their potential for parnasah, as well as make a contribution to the State (besides that of their avodas Hashem), be it in the military or in National Service. Here are some examples:

* Carrying a dual program had been a cornerstone of Machon Lev for decades. Nonetheless, JCT set up a Machon Naveh program for charedim who wanted all their Torah learning on their turf and their terms. It begins only after 3PM, allowing participants to still salvage most of the day’s learning before heading for their secular JCT classes.

* The government is actively reaching out to help the Chareidi community and has allocated 500 million NIS over the coming five years through Naftali Bennet’s (another figure anathematized in some charedi circles) ministry. This money is being used for one-stop vocational centers where chareidi men and women will be able to get help with academic and vocational training, and with specialized employment services. The Jerusalem Municipality has already set up one such center. That one and the one in Bnei Brak have already been very active.

* Just in the last few days, the Jerusalem Municipality announced the creation of a charedi wing of the storied Bezalel School for the arts. This will allow right-brained charedim (who so often have to stifle their leanings towards the arts, other than on a very basic level) an opportunity to develop their creative talents at a top-notch school.

* The current head of the Council of Higher Education has declared that they have copied the Machon Lev gender-separated model and have encouraged and financed the establishment of “Macharim” (educational frameworks adjacent to each of the major universities). This is a major step in trying to create charedi friendly frameworks of higher education. This has not come easily. Devoutly secular Israelis have fought the idea of polluting the academic atmosphere with concessions like gender separation. Yet, the government has fought back, and in some cases prevailed in preparing the way for charedim who want to earn the advantage of a university degree.

And so we return to the theme of our earlier piece. Multiple parts of the charedi message have penetrated to all sorts of places in Israeli society, governmental and academic. Many Israelis understand that charedim will not compromise on their adherence to principle. They will demand tzniyus and gender separation in the classroom. Israelis also understand that charedim are not going to emigrate back to the Russian Pale of Settlement. They are, one way or another going to be an important part of the future of the State – and at least some people are willing to accommodate their sensitivities to make them less of a people dwelling apart. The process of opening doors to charedi participation is not helped by politicians pandering to punitive feelings in some of the public, nor by charedi stonewalling against any discussion with those who are trying to map out an Israeli future that includes all of its citizens.

Briefly put, there are indeed some resha’im out there, but they are certainly not all resha’im.

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40 comments to Charedim and The Gap

  • dina

    thanks for sharing.

    stories like this demonstrate what can happen with machloket done well– both sides representing an important value, and then finding some way of accommodating both values at once.

  • joel rich

    The deeper political science issue (to generalize) is to what extent does a minority have the right to demand that its needs be met (and at what cost) by the majority. ISTM that debate or negotiation theorists would advise that one try to look at the issues from the viewpoint of their interlocutor and pick out the strengths of their position as well. We see precious little of this in the public arena.

    Let me suggest the next post off of “JCT’s new President is “The most successful way to impact the current situation is not to drag people kicking and screaming out of the beis medrash but rather to offer them good options for getting respectable, well-paid, employment while being trained in a ‘chareidi friendly’ setting.””

    Define success as seen by all participants in the discussion.
    KT

  • hindy frishman

    What your piece really proves is that we need to provide the basics earlier – at the high school level – so that those who want to go on to higher ed can do so. According to your stats, 50% of those who try fail – and 100% of those in the group are people who thought they had enough skills to try the mechina program. That means that there is likely a large group who lack the basics, most of whom recognized that fact and didn’t even try to go to a mechina.

  • Menachem Lipkin

    Nice piece. There are actually very few, if any, “reshaim” out there. Most of the so-called “reshaim” are necessary creations of the imaginations of some media elites and religious leaders who will fight tooth and nail and use any means to maintain their disastrous status quo very much in spite of themselves and their constituents.

  • L. Oberstein

    You paint a more hopeful picture. The decision,now postponed, of the Moetzes to all come as a group to the USA shows that they believe that American frum Jews side with them and will pull out all the stops to both lobby for them to get Obama to pressure Netanyahu to let the status quo remain and also that American Jewish philanthropists will make up the vaccuum .If you read the chareidi web sites, the venom poured out against the Plag hayeshalmi and vice versa is poisonous. It shows panic. In the end, many chareidim will take courses and find jobs and become partners in the Jewish State,not bystanders.
    Historically, I understand why chareidim feel the government is against them, but taking the long,slow road just isn’t going to work. If the government caves in and reverses course due to the fall of this coalition which is the answer to Charedi prayers, it will just add more generations to poverty. maybe someof them actually do not want to work and think that work is a bad thing. That element won’t give in unless the costs are too high. Tough love is still love.

  • Stefan Bialoguski

    Alas, that hostility the Rabbi refers to in the opening paragraph is not confined to Israeli Haredim. I was personally appalled by the venom and bigotry displayed in the comments sections of stories about the growth in New York’s Orthodox population a year or so ago. Such hatred ignores the great steps being taken in Israel and America to offer Haredim opportunities to support themselves – and the humbling sacrifice and determination of the increasing numbers of Haredim who are taking advantage of them. ORT is a secular Jewish NGO but helps Jews and non-Jews acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be self-sufficient and contributing members of society. And we’re happy to do so without trying to change our clients’ beliefs or lifestyles: how they live is their business, our business is to enable them to do so without being dependent on charity. One such programme is the B’derech program at Bramson ORT College in Brooklyn, in partnership with the inspiring Hasidic lawyer Rachel Freier. Normally, further education is closed off to these Haredi men because they do not have a high school diploma. So the Bramson ORT students, who range in age between 18 and mid-50s, acquire a General Equivalency Diploma by completing coursework for their degree. Most of the students choose computer programming while others opt for business and accounting or courses to become medical assistants, graphic designers and even computer game designers. Bramson ORT provides male teachers and single-sex classes for those who require it but some of the students are happy to integrate into the general life of the college. Wouldn’t it be nice if those who spent so much vitriol condemning “parasitic” Haredim instead spent some money supporting this and other initiatives to help their fellow Jews (and, yes, the comments I’ve referred to above were written by Jews) find the work they so keenly want?

  • lawrence kaplan

    Rabbi Adlerstein: A very thoughtful, timely, and encouraging article. I particularly appreciated your conclusion: “The process of opening doors to charedi participation is not helped by politicians pandering to punitive feelings in some of the public, nor by charedi stonewalling against any discussion with those who are trying to map out an Israeli future that includes all of its citizens.” I only wish that you had made it clear that that just as it is some politicians who, alas, are “pandering to punitive feelings in some of the public,” so it is, alas, some of the Charedi leaders themselves, Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva, who are responsible for much of the “Charedi stonewalling.” Still, I understand why you left this conclusion unstated; I, however, do not feel bound by the same constraints as you do

  • Leibel

    The Charedi leadership will continue to give its tacit approval for secular-studies arrangements on individual bases, but will continue its explicit preference for staying in learning. The stonewalling is a pushback against attempts, abetted by Reshaim, at a full opening of the floodgates and the concomitant inevitable backslide in the spiritual level of the entire nation, on either side of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and irrespective of particular hashkafic stripe.

  • Benshaul

    An excellent piece. I dare say that many of commentators would be surprised and perhaps even shocked at whom in the charedi world supports the efforts mentioned above. Some overtly, and some not (for cultural and political reasons, too long to describe in this comment). As one who has deep contacts and relations in the charedi world of Israel, I have had conversations and heard comments made to me by charedi leaders that parallel much of what Rabbi Adlerstein points out. Let us hope that these efforts, and not the rabble rousing of Lapid, create the future for charedi society in Israel.

  • lacosta

    i think some segments will takke choose the Pale of Settlement [meah shearim, many chassidic sects] , but in the end [10-20 yr down the line , if mashiach hasn't ended the misery till then] , there will probably be better options for charedi secular higher education in Israel than in chu”l..

    as to labeling r’piron and naftali bennett as goyim , anti-semites, or amalek [ the latter term-since some haredim wield it against other haredim not zealous enough ,maybe is a badge of honour] , one can only say that if one sees potential friends as enemies , one is left with a variation of Niemoller’s theme…

    “Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

  • Jerusalem

    The Litvish Rosh Yeshivas & Chassidishe Rebbes & UTJ politicians refused to negotiate; they insisted on maintaining the unsustainable status quo…and it worked for the last 30+ years… but with the Lapid-Bennett alliance… and the exclusion of the charedi political parties from the coalition… the game is over.

    No one is *forcing* charedim to do anything. They can do whatever they want. But if they want Zionist funding & subsidies… they must follow-the-rules… If they are willing to forgo Zionist funding & subsidies… then they can live however they wish…

    In a week or two the Knesset will pass a new charedi draft law… Enlistment for the army or national service is 100% voluntary… For the next 4 years, until 2017, there will be a one-time exemption-amnesty…and every charedi male who is in yeshiva/kollel (in order to avoid the army) will be able to go to college or join the workforce, without worrying about the army… In 2017, if they refuse…economic sanctions will be applied on them… (NO ONE IS GOING TO JAIL)

    Prediction: We are now going to see a clear divergence between the Chassidim & the Litvish. In a few weeks the shtetl walls will be lifted & everyone will be allowed to leave yeshiva — and go to college or join the workforce. Many chassidim say “I want to work, but I can’t – because the army”… They will now take full advantage of the one-time amnesty that’s in place til 2017. We will now witness a tsunami of chassidim going to college & joining the workforce…

    The “Lithuanians” OTOH – They are all forced to pretend that they wanna “learn in kollel for life”… The social pressure is overwhelming… In modern Litvish society “It is assur to work”… They have turned it into the Holy Grail… So the coming amnesty won’t necessarily enable them to leave kollel & go to college or get a job… They *can’t* leave kollel; the social pressure is too strong…

  • Raymond

    I continue to maintain that any individual Jew who does not do what is necessary to be economically independent, is engaging in the desecration of G-d’s Name. I understand that there are truly needy people, and thus we must always do what we can to give our 10% to the needy, but it is something altogether different when one actively shapes his life to be one of those economically needy people. Learning Torah is wonderful, and perhaps even what we were created for, but before we reach for the stars, we first have to build ourselves from the ground up. And once again I am reminded of that expression from our Sages that a father who does not teach his son a trade, is teaching his son to be a thief. If we truly deserve to be G-d’s Chosen people, we should not train ourselves to be economic parasites, but rather economically self-sufficient students of the Torah.

  • Ari Heitner

    Jerusalem: I hope you are right that, “No one is going to jail.”

    The Supreme Court seems to think otherwise.

    [YA - It will be overcome legislatively. Unless it won't]

  • Rafael Guber

    This is a rather complex issue and for many reasons, generalization is not respectful or useful. That said, in America many Jews have embraced the Charedi definition. I have heard people casually refer to themselves as Charedi in a way that sounds more like that were talking about an allegiance to their favorite sports team.

    In fact in the 1970′s when I spent years in Israel to be called Charedi meant to be a member of the “Aida Chredis.” Not a large group by any means back then and their ideas for the most part did not resonate with the overwhelming majority of frum people.

    I fear the popularization of the term has trivialized the deeper meaning of our obligation for devaikus to HaShem and Torah. If a person thinks he is Charedi and someone else is not he is saying, I live a life in fear and awe of “HaShem and you don’t.”

    Rabbi Adlerstein, my personal respect for you is without question, but I have seen such a reinvention of the truth of the Jewish people’s recent past(the last three centuries)that is so odd and so much an affectation that I fear that this leads to people saying ( lo aleinu) “Kol V Chomer let’s reinvent the ancient past as well.”

    [YA I speculated years ago that the scourge of Historical Revisionism that we live is ironic in the light of all the revisionim that we, lehavdil, have been doing.]

  • Harry Maryles

    Note to moderator. I misspelled the name. If you decide to publish this comment, please use the following corrected version submitted in a separate comment – to follow.

  • Harry Maryles

    What a wonderful analysis. I actually wrote about this post on my blog today and linked to it. Rabbi Adlerstein, you are an honest and courageous man!

  • Joseph

    Rabbi Adlerstein,

    As someone, who you very well know, has first-hand knowledge about the gap issue which you mention, let me assure your readers that you are 100% correct. There is a popular notion out there, that has been perpetuated by some, including some Roshei Yeshivos, that a ben-Torah can learn anything else out there since his exposure to, and training through Gemara is far more superior to any other discipline. Granted that is true that limud Gemara is far more superior (which, from my experience, I fervently believe so), nonetheless, there are other basic, down-to-earth, common sense factors that this notion ignores:

    1. Vigorous and intensive training in one discipline makes training in another more difficult to acquire.’
    2. The window to learn new systems and languages starts closing in a person’s mid-thirties or so.
    3. The memory of a thirty-five year old is not quite the same as that of a twenty-two year old.
    All of these factors (which have some overlap)may comprise the underlying basis for Elisha ben Avuyah’s statement: HaLomeid Torah BiZiknuso Lima Hu Domeh? Li’Dyo Kasuv Al Niyar Machuk. True he said this about learning Torah, but experience shows that it is just as true regarding any discipline.

    The gap is very real and I actively urge every ben Torah that I can have an influence upon, to think seriously about it and consider the long term implications (parnassa, Shalom Bayis, nachas ruach, simcha, etc.)of neglecting a secular education.

  • Steve Brizel

    Great post! For those interested, it is well known that RSZA had a special relationship with R Lev ZL. IIRC Dr Sukenik ( as well as his wife) were superb NCSY advisors when I was an NCSYer. The bottom line remains that economic necessity is a factor that is driving enrollmment in such institutions, and that rhetorical excess on all sides shows a lack of knowledge of what is driving the increased enerollment in such programs.

  • Steve Brizel

    Great piece! The development of these programs obviously is indicative of the need on the ground for the same. It is important for all of us, regardless of hashkafic perspective to realize that the facts on the ground drive such programs.

  • Moshe

    JCT’s President Dr Chaim Sukenik (the former Dean of Exact Sciences at Bar-Ilan, and an old friend who is decidedly not hostile to charedim) acknowledged that the success rate of his mechina program (which is already self-selecting for more motivated students) is only about 50%.

    On the other hand, the group applying is self-selected in that they are generally not among the upper crust of intellects in the Yeshiva world. How many Yeshiva Tichonit grads get in?

    Carrying a dual program had been a cornerstone of Machon Lev for decades. Nonetheless, JCT set up a Machon Naveh program for charedim who wanted all their Torah learning on their turf and their terms. It begins only after 3PM, allowing participants to still salvage most of the day’s learning before heading for their secular JCT classes.

    Kol Hakavod. What has this to do with the government?

    The government is actively reaching out to help the Chareidi community and has allocated 500 million NIS over the coming five years through Naftali Bennet’s (another figure anathematized in some charedi circles) ministry. This money is being used for one-stop vocational centers where chareidi men and women will be able to get help with academic and vocational training, and with specialized employment services. The Jerusalem Municipality has already set up one such center. That one and the one in Bnei Brak have already been very active.

    No one suspects Naftali Bennett of not wanting to get more Charedim into higher education frameworks. The anathema is on a different plane entirely. At the same time, the Finance Minister is more focused on the 0.3% of his budget that has to with Yeshivos, *including DL ones,* than any other part of his budget, and has engaged in mendacious, massive manipulation of the deficit numbers to force through entirely unnecessary cuts in child allowances.

    Just in the last few days, the Jerusalem Municipality announced the creation of a charedi wing of the storied Bezalel School for the arts. This will allow right-brained charedim (who so often have to stifle their leanings towards the arts, other than on a very basic level) an opportunity to develop their creative talents at a top-notch school.

    This was approved and set in motion a year and half ago, before the existence of this government. Anyhow, it has to do with Nir Barkat, not the government.

    the government has fought back

    Define “the government”; which ministry gets the kudos for this?

  • Moshe

    I would just add, to clarify the anathema that is Naftali Bennett, that he is denigrated by most serious *RZ* Rabbis as someone with zero religious backbone.

  • cvmay

    Change is slowly happening & it is noted in various venues.

    For instance in order for girls’ seminaries to continue to receive government programs they have to contract with MASA. Rulings of MASA include teaching of Israeli history, visits to the Knesset and other government sites. Seminaries that are affiliated with Masa, their students are able to apply for college loans & grants. This year four more Bais Yaakov seminaries have joined MASA, which was unheard of years ago.

  • Yehoshua Friedman

    Some of those who feel the social pressure is too great will vote with their feet, either go OTD or change the color of their head-covering. OR and alternative like TOV will come along, the creation of the “working hareidim” and the rabbis who support that position, basically the rebirth of the old Poalei Aguda. People have to live, something’s gotta give.

  • Dr. E

    It is somewhat telling that these “gradual solutions” have been coming from outside of Chareidi leadership. No one in the mainstream Chareidi leadership wants to go on record for endorsing these tracks as a l‘catchila initiative.

    We have heard from many influential Rabbanim lately who find their red herring in Lapid, Lipman, and Piron. The new nomenclature which has even found its way even to these shores including terms like Reshaim, Gezeiros, anti-Torah, or “the serious matzav in Eretz Yisroel”. We have heard that the Chareidi tzibbur needs “chizuk” (i.e., gelt). Such rhetoric does a disservice to their constituencies because it wastes precious time for those individuals and families who can least afford to continue to refuse potential exit strategies. The fact that these programs have been proposed by outsiders gives a convenient excuse for leadership to marginalize them as programs designed to chip away at the Chareidi lifestyle by socially engineering us out of the Battei Medrish. This conspiracy theory of course ignores the fact that Parnassah, personal responsibility, and financial independence were never seen by Chazal as necessary evils. They were in fact, goals to which Klal Yisroel aspired.

    Many Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva, perhaps the more enlightened ones, will stipulate that “after a few years in Kollel, a Youngerman should go out and make parnassa”. In light of “The “Gap”, the likelihood of such a strategy being successful is quite low. An exception might be if there is some pre-ordained family business position open to him. Such a message ignores the reality that there are those out there with both practical and abstract skill sets. Believe it or not, there are people out there, who can step into a job and be immediate contributors, against whom those exiting Kollel will be competing.

  • Pk

    Just curious. What percentage of non chareidi students at Machon Lev drop out without graduating?

  • Ari Heitner

    I just want to throw a thought out for the oilam: I have a BSc. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. It’s one of the best computer science programs in the world, and while I had a lot of computer background coming out of high school, many or most of the 140-odd incoming freshmen did not. In fact, the directors of admissions for the program said they explicitly did not consider programming experience; they had found it had no bearing on whether students did well – and they were right.

    So what background did you need? I can’t say calculus, though a prereq, was essential. Nor was physics. Not lit or history either (my mother a”h was horrified at the lack of emphasis on humanities – oh well).

    You needed to know how to think. And how to work hard and manage your time. In general, knowing how to figure out why or if something is true proved much more critical than the rote ability to solve various categories of problems.

    I am curious for details why the washout rate at Machon Lev or other training programs is what it is – I suspect it has a lot more to do with self-discipline and organization, or even just people trying a program and finding they don’t enjoy it.

  • Moshe Hacohen

    I would like to thank Rabbi Adlerstein for this excellent article.

    I would also like to ‘like’ the comments by Menachem Lipkin and Lawrence Kaplan (among others).

  • YM Goldstein

    I think that several issues that are unrelated are being mixed up here. The Army is really unsuitable for religious Jewish young people due to the mixing of males and females and other reasons that Rav Feldman R”Y from Ner Yisroel has described. If it cannot be reorganized or a separate army created for the Charedim, the Charedi community has every right to say “no way”. OTOH, Jewish men have to support their wives and families per their Kesubos. The way to fix this is to get rid of the draft in Israel and un-link working with military service. Furthermore, a person can be a Rasha even if he or she sees himself or herself as correct, right, fair, doing what is best for others. It should be up to parents to decide what their children should be doing at any particular age, not the government.

  • joel rich

    If it cannot be reorganized or a separate army created for the Charedim, the Charedi community has every right to say “no way”.
    ———————————–
    But the rest of society has no right to say “no way” to what it considers unreasonable demands by the chareidi community? That’s a tough sell.
    KT

  • L. Oberstein

    YM Goldstein, either you or misinformed or you really don’t know. Netzach Yehuda has no females in any position, not as secretaries, not as anything. It is an all male battaliion . Netzach Yehudah is a fine fighting unit and has been recognized as the top unit in Tzahal this year by the Ramatcal, Benny Ganz.Tonight was the 15th anniversary of Netzach yehudah and there was a big gathering in Yerushalayim and my son Yoni, a veteren of this unit told me about it. He also tells me that every draft,three times a year, sees a large increase in the number of real chareidim, not just chardal, joining Netzach Yehudah. To say otherwise is simply to ignore the truth because of an agenda. It is false that Tzahal doesn’t need these soldiers, it is also false that they loose their religious observance in Netzach Yehudah, based on what my son tells me. If anything, they gain in frumkeit and certainly in self esteem.
    Now that he has finished his enlistment, my son learns every day in a yeshiva, Machon Meir and is punctilious in his shmiras hamitzvos,as are his friends.
    M’dvar sheker tirchak.

  • cvmay

    “of the Moetzes to all come as a group to the USA shows that they believe that American frum Jews side with them and will pull out all the stops to both lobby for them ”

    I believe that this is a wrong conclusion, there were many reasons that the Moetzes of Chassidish Rebbeim did not come to America. (including Wrong Season & Weather Conditions, Huge Expense to build/rent/lease a large venue, time constraints, Belzer Rebbe opting out, Rav Steinman not a supporter of the plan, possibility of Anti-Israel/Jewish sentiments increasing with this type of gathering). Surely the belief that American frum Jews side with them was not one of the reasons.

  • c-l,c

    Even if so,for minor problems warrants the turning of Eretz Yisroel into a veritable Eretz Canaan ?!

    Oded Levinson, Israeli property lawyer and longstanding economic commentator on Israel Army radio,assessed:

    ” Concerning Chareidim, we have to realize that the share of the budget allocated to them is only about two percent of the total budget.
    [ed:for a voting pop. of 15%]
    Lapid’s narrative about the economic difficulties we’re facing is somewhat biased.
    What’s more, the fact is that quite a few Orthodox men pursue professional training in the frameworks that have been adapted to their needs, and many have become qualified lawyers, architects or information specialists.

    If so, where does the idea come from that most Chareidim don’t work?
    If we look at the facts, we see that the politicians and the universities are playing a double game with Chareidim. On the one hand, they claim incessantly that it’s not normal that Chareidim aren’t participating in the economic effort. At the same time, they put all kinds of obstacles in their way when trying to pursue professional training.
    A good example is in the field of psychology, where a number of Chareidi institutions offer basic academic degrees.
    To hope to get work in this field, however, one practically needs at least a Master’s degree, and these are available only in the only in the established universities, which are not places Chareidim want to enter.
    If so, why don’t Chareidi institutions offer advanced degrees?
    There are basically two reasons:
    For one thing, the universities don’t want to let their funding be siphoned off to other institutions. But the other, and more important, reason is that the secular world is frightened (off) by the prospect of so many Chareidim entering the workplace. They realize that these are highly intelligent people and are scared that a lot of jobs [ed:& more] will go over to them at the expense of other segments of the population. “

    (True also, that it is also not good idea for the uncompromisingly religious entering the workforce to pour into limited fields, which is perceived as good at any given time. Case in point would be Lakewood where there is a mega supply of teachers, special ed, speech therapists, social workers,accountants, etc. and then you end up with a lot of people with training and few jobs. The response you on occasion hear is “See – it was a poor idea to go to work in the first place. Working is not worth much.” )

  • c-l,c

    Only the gullible and guileless (which always includes a sizable pop. of the globe) are still trying to believe that the continuous battle is about IDF and Work. It’s but a dense smokescreen for the most basic tenets of life,morality and religion for all.

    In the early ’80′s R’ Nachman Bulman started a frum anglo community in Migdal Emek with a ratio of 3 earner: 1 learner. He requested the secularist and mizrachi parties for help. The hypocrites then ignored him and wouldn’t care less.

    The State ‘powers’ have had long refused to grant BTL or as TE degree to Bnei Torah , while despite strong arming them into the workforce
    Ever Wonder about this??

    In Other news:

    : Israel to Pay for All Abortions
    Monday December 30, 2013
    Israeli health officials announced today that the state would pay for all abortions for women age 20 to 33 starting next year. Subsidized abortions were previously only available in the case of medical emergencies, including assault. An Israeli medical official says he hopes to make the program universal in the future.

    “It was brought to our attention that there is a large group of women between 20 and 30 who for various reasons – financial or reasons of secrecy – do not terminate pregnancies,” health official Jonathan Halevy said.

    ..From the country that keeps incessantly demanding the need for more budget cutting

  • c-l,c

    L. Oberstein &Co.

    The IDF is a determiner of status for the hierarchy of society.(It was/is conditioned to be just that).

    Netzach Yehuda is intentionally very low on the pyramid.(irrespective of the fact that it won the IDF sharpshooting contest two years in a row)
    The soldiers serving presently may be clueless,but they’ll find out soon enough.

    Identical to most Shas voters who served in the IDF ,and have a disproportionate % of combat wounded among their pop. (they were the “grunts”).
    Still,they’re being maligned worse than any other segment of the country.

    Shas voters also work hard(possibly the lowest pay, longer hours than any other sector). Few are in kollel.

    So it’s not/never was really about work..

  • L. Oberstein

    c-l,c,, I have no first hand knowledge, only what my son tells me ,so I do not dispute what you say.There has been a hierarchy since the Socialist Ashkenazim controlled the
    “Gucci Aliyah” prior to statehood and that is why Mapam and Mapai won so many seats in the first election.They did look upon the oriental Jews as inferior substitutes for their slain Ashkenazim and the pre 1967 Mizrachi was a wanna be clone of Mapai,just with a kipah, all true to some extent.
    Now, skip to the present. The birth rate of the once insignificant Chareidim makes it impossible to ignore them. The Sephardim are a majority and they vote. Mapam is almost kaput. Mapai is a shadow of its former glory. Netzach Yehudah has grown from 89 the first year,15 years ago, to 800 a year now.Every daft sees a large increase. The kibbutzniks are no longer running the army or the country, to the chagrin of the secular elites. So, the tiems they are a changing.
    Here is my assssment, and I may be imagining things. The State of Israel is changing rapidly in many ways.One is that a new model is emerging,that one can be a frum Jew and a full member of society. The baalebatim presently at the Agudah Yarchei Kallah in Jerusalem are all earners who love to learn. They are a model that is slowing being implemented in Israel, it may take a while.
    What changed the US Deep South,my birthplace, was the Voting Rights Act, not the goodwill of the white segregationists. The chareidim and Sephardim are the future and the choice will not be made by the elites but by the changes going on in society. Maybe one day a Prime Minister will be a truly frum Jew and he or she will be very qualified. That is my hope and Tzahal will become user friendly for all frum men. My one major concern is the increasing fanaticism of the chareidim (both here and there0,but maybe as more are in the real world, the retrograde elements will be outvoted on the street so to speak.We are basicly normal and insanity can’t rule forever.

  • YM Goldstein

    One of the problems in how democracy has been implemented in the world since the 1700′s is that there are no “group rights”, everyone is looked at as an individual within a single society.

    We are all aware that Israeli society is based on a western culture and values that are favored by a large majority. To me, it seems to be the height of cultural imperialism to impose this culture and values onto a minority community for whom the culture and values are anathema. That is what this dispute is about, in my opinion. If the political system would recognize separate “western” and “charedi” societies, mutually agreeable solutions could be found, but if it is taken for granted that there is only one “Israeli” society where everyone must be treated “equally”, then by definition it has to involve coercion by the majority of the minority into the majorities culture.

  • YM Goldstein

    The issue of an electoral majority imposing its cultural values and beliefs onto our Orthodox community is not just an issue with the Charedi community in Israel. In the last few years, democracies have imposed bans on bris milah and on kosher slaughtering of animals for meat. Our ability to live in democratic societies is dependent on the willingness of non-Orthodox or non-Jewish majorities not to impose limits on our ability to practice our beliefs and cultural practices. I would hope that Israel, of all places, would not take the lead on persecuting and proscribing Jewish cultural and religious practices.

    (this is a continuation of my previous submission at 1:30pm

  • c-l,c

    “The birth rate of the once insignificant Chareidim makes it impossible to ignore them. The Sephardim are a majority and they vote. Mapam is almost kaput. Mapai is a shadow of its former glory. Netzach Yehudah has grown from 89 the first year,15 years ago, to 800 a year now.Every daft sees a large increase. The kibbutzniks are no longer running the army or the country, to the chagrin of the secular elites. So, the tiems they are a changing.”

    You kid ?

    The ‘elite’ are more carved into rock than ever.So much so ,they could afford to be more discreet.(a little pedestrian example:every distinguished rabbi has to presume that his phone or house is bugged.
    iirc even in your days,the kibbutznikim were poster boys,but the actual ‘elite’ generally dwelled elsewhere)

    The constant harping and haranguing of financial insolvency ,reminds one of when Begin closed El Al on shabbos.
    The ensuing smoke and thunder was how it bring the country to economic collapse.
    (and who kept it closed,including with boycotts?the charedim,even though it affects thempersonally next to nil )

  • c-l,c

    Some feverishly desire , and are arduously laboring, to relegate Rasha and Amalek to archaic relics,if at all !?
    Most qualified and were characterized, in the annals of out recent and distant past,for far lower breaches !

    Marriage Definition R”L
    Conversions
    abortions
    cemeteries
    Kosel(temporarily barely saved by a heroic couple of women)

    …and on

    Well,
    it was ,after all,Lapid ym”sh’s less sly and subtle father who bemoaned in print ,the victory and celebration of the Maccabees over the Greeks

    (iirc Rabbi Shalom Gold, Rabbi Emeritus of Y.I. of Har Nof, told me more than half a decade ago,that [edited] is a ” Rasha merusha”)

    “War is sorrowful, but there is one thing infinitely more horrible than the worst horrors of war, and that is the feeling that nothing is worth fighting for…”
    – Harper’s Weekly, December 31, 1864

    Now,for the Hierarchy the ultimate would be,of course,to have the growing charedi pop.
    as service providers ,and in (National) identured Service towards their own Ends

    An analogy :
    The desire is for the charedim to be ‘ Boxer’ in Orwell’s Animal Farm
    They hopefully will refuse .

    (To backpedal :

    Heard of the mapai red card?
    Heard of the histadrut?

    When Weitzman visited in the mid 20s, he said the most impressive settlement was Bnei Brak

    The original settlers were small farmers, shop keepers, and businessmen.

    And they were shut out.By whom?)

    Change the date and the players a little,and such people would have been feted as ‘refuseniks’

  • Jon Baker

    Oh! So that’s who Zev Lev is! I have his book on electricity and halacha, which starts out by introducing basic eletrical engineering.