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December 23, 2011

Haredi Schools Threaten Israel's High Tech Future

Haredi yeshiva studentsMost haredi boys receive little or no education in secular subjects, which makes them nearly unemployable as adults. "There are two States of Israel in one," said economist Dan Ben-David, head of the Taub Center for Social Policy Research. "One is a state of high-tech, universities and medicine at the forefront of human knowledge. And then there are all the rest, who make up a huge and increasing part of Israel and who do not receive the skills or conditions to work in a modern economy."

Haredi yeshiva students
Haredi yeshiva students

Ultra-religious schools test Israel's high-tech future
By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - There are no computers at Maoz Hatorah, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys school on the outskirts of Israel's bustling high-tech commercial hub, Tel Aviv.

In the classrooms, English, mathematics and science lessons are kept to a minimum.

"If we devote our time to secular studies there will be none left for faith," the headmaster said.

Most ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys receive little education in secular subjects up to age 14 and none afterwards. The bulk of the school day is instead focused on religious instruction, in preparation for a life devoted to the study of Torah (Jewish law) that many will pursue as adult men.

Some in Israel say this leaves graduates no chance to get a job or integrate into modern society.

Critics are concerned the poor education of the state's fastest-growing population, known in Hebrew as "haredim" or "those in awe," threatens Israel's thriving economy and cutting-edge research and innovation.

"There are two States of Israel in one," said economist Dan Ben-David, head of the Taub Center for Social Policy Research.

"One is a state of high-tech, universities and medicine at the forefront of human knowledge. And then there are all the rest, who make up a huge and increasing part of Israel and who do not receive the skills or conditions to work in a modern economy."

Though haredi schools are partly or fully state-funded, curricula are guided by ultra-Orthodox rabbis who resist outside intervention. Those have remained largely unchanged for the past 60 years.

As a succession of Israeli coalition governments have relied on the support of ultra-religious parties for their survival, any move to reform haredi schools is politically dangerous.

Haredim make up about 8-10 percent of Israel's 7.8 million population. Many are supported by the state and live well below the poverty line.

They mostly reside in their own towns and neighborhoods, shying away from Israel's secular majority. Haredi men wear traditional black garb, a dress code that goes back centuries.

With an average of eight children per family, haredim are a young demographic, and a fifth of Israeli primary school pupils attend haredi schools.

"If they continue to get education below Third World standards, it will be the end of Israel," Ben-David said.

A SACRED TASK

As haredi women do not engage in full-time religious study, they are taught all subjects at school as girls and have an unemployment rate around 40 percent. But about 60 percent of haredi men do not work, devoting themselves instead to religious study.

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics issued a survey this month which said that only 31 percent of haredi primary schools taught science, 54 percent taught English and 83 percent mathematics.

From the age of 14 most ultra-Orthodox boys attend "yeshiva" school where secular subjects are off the agenda.

"It is a severe and very serious problem," Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said in September. "The educational system ... is failing to prepare Israel for the modern world and we're falling further and further behind.."

Haredim see their education in a different light.

They advocate a pious way of life, dedicated to keeping God's laws.

"This is the reason we come into the world and it can't be done without studying Torah," said Rabbi Assaf Avitan, head of Maoz Hatorah school which teaches 500 boys, aged 3 to 15.

Avitan said that at that age the school's priority is to instill the right values in the children, and argues the demanding education makes the children a quick study.

"Studying Torah gives spirituality, delivers one from needless desires and allows a life free from the pursuit of this world's materialism."

Torah study is one of the most important religious decrees for haredi men and Torah scholars are revered in ultra-Orthodox communities.

Deputy Education Minister Menachem Eliezer Moses, a haredi lawmaker, said Israel's haredim were charged with a sacred task.

"We do not seek the new. On the contrary, we wish to emulate the ways of our forefathers. We study our own Torah first and only then turn to the wisdom of the world. If we do not keep the Torah, which has protected us for thousands of years, who will?"

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) this month said problems in haredi education were "likely to increase in importance over time" and that Israel must step up pressure on ultra-Orthodox schools.

"The ultra-Orthodox community should be more forcefully encouraged to strengthen the vocational skills of its youth, in part by stronger curriculum requirements for the receipt of state funding," the report said.

One bill along those lines was rejected by the government this month, the latest of many failed attempts to inject "core curriculum subjects" like maths, English, science and civics into haredi schools.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a panel of experts in August after a social change movement swept through Israel over the summer demanding sweeping economic reform.

One of the panel's recommendations was to enforce teaching "core" subjects in haredi schools. But commentators see little chance of Netanyahu succeeding where all have previously failed.

Ynet, the website for Israel's most popular daily Yedioth Ahronoth, published a poll recently which said 80 percent of 800 Israeli Jews polled believed core subjects should be forced into haredi schools.

A spokeswoman for the Education Ministry said inspection of haredi schools has been boosted in the past two years and that the measure of state funding matched the degree to which schools taught core studies.

But a law passed in 2008 allows boys at yeshiva high schools to receive funding even if they do not teach those subjects. Amnon Rubinstein, a former Israeli education minister, has petitioned Israel's Supreme Court to repeal the law.

"A haredi adult should have the choice between remaining in the haredi stream or finding a place in Israel's economy. When a haredi child has no elementary knowledge of maths, computers and English, he is robbed of that choice," Rubinstein said.

The Supreme Court has not yet given its ruling. But haredi leaders have said coercion was unacceptable.

"Anyway," Moses said, "how would you enforce it? put all the parents in jail?"

Moriya, an 18-year-old haredi student who did not want to give her full name, said she doubted it was possible to enforce mandatory secular studies. "You can't force a person to learn something he does not want to," she said.

Yaakov Rabi, 23, a haredi economics student at a Jerusalem college, said he had only basic knowledge in maths before he began his studies. "It was hard to narrow the gaps, but where there is a will, there is a way."

Rabi said he hoped to find a respectable, lucrative job when he graduated. He said he was not subjected to pressures from within his community to give up his studies "but I can say this, it takes courage to swim against the tide."

Comments

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""Studying Torah gives spirituality, delivers one from needless desires and allows a life free from the pursuit of this world's materialism."

Yeah... as long as there is a frei sucker to pay for (and defend) this lifestyle.

Madrassas in Pakistan claim the same thing. Identical sham religions, identical philosophies.

How often do we need to use long division? Can you spell calculator, Yidden? And so what if a Yid does not know shakespeer from how to grow honey, when we have plenty of goyim to do that work? Our job is to study torah. The job of the goyim is to do everything but torah. Torah study will bring us Moshiach and when Moshiach comes, no one will want to study goyishe science, not even the goyim.

Haredim are merely former Jews who didn't want to be bothered with all that intellectual claptrap about using one's mind? Who needs that shit?!

Would the Jewish people be better off without the Haredim? I mean, some Christians can claim Jewish ancestry too, right? They eventually developed their own set of values and rules that were incongruous with their original heritage, so they became an offshoot.

We should build a coalition with Haredim and Judaism. They share a common ancestry and kind of worship the same god, right? Kind of?

All of Israel does not have to be "High Tech". Just look at us here in USA, most people are simpletons, gavones as Bob Grant would say. Israel is rich with talented individuals and the fact that haredim are not included in its ranks does not detract from the quality and quantity of this talent.

Society needs all types to function, some are doctors, some engineers, some sanitation workers, some painters, some cashiers, shoe makers etc.

It is a loss to the haredim that they keep themselves out of some wonderful fields, but the country can and will survive their lack of participation.

Society needs all types to function, some are doctors, some engineers, some sanitation workers, some painters, some cashiers, shoe makers etc.

Right, so the sanitation workers who are generously subsidizing your study of the teachings of an idolatrous buttfucking idol like your shitstain Schneerson are suddenly worthy of respect? Fuck your mother.

Right, so the sanitation workers who are generously subsidizing your study of the teachings of an idolatrous butt****ing idol like your sh**stain Schneerson are suddenly worthy of respect? **** your mother.

Posted by: Korbendallas72 | December 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Interesting story: a would-be observant guy [observant as up to the point where Bic Macs were concerned] I was [formerly] close friends with started using this quote he heard from a Chabad rabbi. I was really stunned, and asked him if he had any clue about the source of that quote.

He said he wasn't aware of the larger hassidic work that paraphrase came from, so I enlightened him. I cited him the whole entire context, passages with the most reprehensible content: the hassidic POV that there's a hierarchy to people and your potential for goodness/blessing is determined before you're born.

I asked him how he could frivolously dabble into such a hateful POV. I asked him if he's outraged as I am, and he suddenly got angry at me. He said my concern was unfounded and he wasn't going to start hating anyone, because one has to "respect all G-d's creatures."

So you see Korben, the sanitation worker is G-d's "creature" and Mr. Simple will condescend to search out that little, bitty value he provides him.

To fail to educate your children is the antithesis of Judaism. What Halachic source do the frumma cite to to justify a failure to teach one's children to be able to earn a living (or for that matter, to defend oneself - since they refuse to fight as well as work)? As I have said before, the refusal to work and to expect other Jews to support these weirdos whilst they "learn" full-time is unprecedented in Jewish history. They are causing the destruction of the Jewish people.

My only point is that worthless idolatrous shitbags are no longer Jews.

Jews do not bow to idols. We work. We contribute to society. We do not enslave out brothers. We respect our host governments. We pay taxes. We vote. We are PATRIOTS.

These bloodsucking vermin haredi shitbags need to be PURGED.

These bloodsucking vermin haredi shitbags need to be PURGED.

No need. They are purging themselves through social Darwinism.

I wonder if a Malthusian equation would operate here.

The number of chareidi schnorers increase exponentially, while the number of frei shnooks willing to subsidize their condescending "Yissachar/Zevulun" lifestyle grows much slower arithmetically, until the suckers are so severely outnumbered by the chareidi suckees who hate (but still depend on) them that the entire system collapses faster than a chareidi can throw a rock at someone who feeds and defends him!

The solution can be summed up in three simple words:

GET A JOB

(sha na na na... na na na na na)

Next Pesach when the haredim discuss the Magid, they might reflect on Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah. One of the Haggadot I peruse has biographies of the five rabbis discussing the seder at Bnei Brak all night. Some of them are said to be quite wealthy but Rabbi Joshua eked out a living as a needle-maker.

ahad aham will post under this new nom deplume. there are quite a few hardei ex the usa, that are supported by their families once living in israel as"espcially orthodox" each sect more frum than the next until we get families,educated families who encourage inter family marriages.

"He who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal" - Kiddushin 29a

Of course, like evangelicals, they only pay attention to verses in sacred texts that suit them.

Another good one:

"Rabbai Gamliel says: 'The study of Torah combined with a worldly occupation is an excellent thing, for the energy needed by both keeps sinful thoughts out of one's mind. And any study of Torah when not accompanied by a trade must fail in the end and become the cause of sin.' " - Pirkei Avot 2:2

But what did he know? He didn't even wear a black hat.

These bloodsucking vermin haredi shitbags need to be PURGED.

Posted by: Korbendallas72 | December 23, 2011 at 01:27 AM

Time to fire up the ovens Mein Her.

This blog is starting to get me genuinely depressed. It's incredible how easy it is to find this startling information.

This is all a red herring.
Israel's secular education system is, when ranked against Europe's, dead last in scholastic achievement and near the top for bullying, violence and lack of accomplishment.
The Chareidim are a demographic concern but secular Israel's splitting into a small minority of very rich and a vast majority of poor and undereducated is the real threat to the country.

... Fuck your mother.

Posted by: Korbendallas72 | December 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM

My, my, my, we are an angry little boy! Care to talk about it?

Torah makes one smarter. You exercise your brain when learning a gemara.

Certainly secular education makes you more knowledgeable about the world, but it doesn't teach you how to think like a Torah education does. I've talked with secular giants and Torah giants and there is no question in my mind that the Torah giants are much smarter.

If a Yungerman wants to study goyishe science, he can do so tomorrow night. Or he can play cards. That is all we need.

Betzalel-sure they dont have to work and they know the art of how to rip of the system with sec.8 food stamps etc. a mans got got make a living right with all this toreh learning they mastered the art of fooloing others and themselfs in the long they the toreh learners are the looser we see it alreay with all those kolel kids relying on others hartd word thats not a life its being a slave to someone elses dictates.

Torah makes one smarter. You exercise your brain when learning a gemara.

Common apologist claim. As the Mythbusters would say, "BUSTED".

"Exercising your brain" means when you don't need to rehash ancient arguments that have been discussed 10,000 times before but when you contribute new knowledge to the world in which we live. A brain that is "exercised" by its owner when he drinks vodka, smokes and farts in kollel and expects taxpayers to support him and his family is not only wasted but a disgrace to the Jewish people and humanity as a whole.

I'm afraid that I see something more sinister in all of this. The Gedolim of the Haredi movement are practicing a grand old tradition of the cult. If anyone has studied cults and modern mass brain washing methods, one way to keep your automatons in line is to keep them ignorant. A second and just as important key is to keep the cult members impoverished. In that way they are apt to believe anything that the upper echelon dictates.

While we, on the outside, find that the dictates of the lifestyle are radical and a distortion of Orthodox Judaism, the Haredi leaders maintain the cult without objection.

If Israel and worldwide Judaism recognises the malignancy of this cult, steps will be taken to remove it or at least reduce it. The first and most important initiative is for the Israeli government to mandate that Haredi schools teach a secular core cirriculum. That must comprise 50% of the school day. The teachers must be accredited by a secular teachers college and must report to the local secular school board. In this way, the secular education will not be subverted by the Haredim. Children will receive knowledge and skills previously denied to them. Critical thinking, will lead to questions that the Haredi leaders will not want to answer, which will lead to (hopefully) exits from the cult.

My dear friends you will NEVER win the battle to alter the charedi school curriculum so just give it up. However, if you truly care about the State of Israel and it's charedi inhabitants you can do the following: petition secular Israeli politicians to make life more amenable to charedim in the military (I.e. don't force them to hear women singing, etc.), allow them to enter the workforce even if they dont serve in the military, and to offer job training. I understand that you will counter with "but its not fair to everyone else" and you have a fair point; however, it is worth it because the numbers of charedim in the military and workforce will rise dramatically. In addition, working charedim will demand core curriculum on their own for the next generation.

Korbendumbass, me thinks a haredi f...ed your mother.

David and jancsipista,

Joke all you want.

But Torah definitely makes one smarter, because you not only gain analytical thinking skills but you learn how to think from many different perspectives (from studying the opinions of different rabbis). You can't get this from secular studies. There you only learn how to think from one perspective. Learning to see things from many different angles is very important.

"because you not only gain analytical thinking skills but you learn how to think from many different perspectives (from studying the opinions of different rabbis)."
Posted by: Betzalel | December 23, 2011 at 09:04 AM


Can you please give me an example of these "analytical thinking skills" that one picks up learning Torah? Is one taught to think critically about (or around) the text? Where does it come from? Who composed it? Why was it composed?... 'No, you heretic, it was composed by HaKadosh Boruch Hu. Now sit down and learn the opinions of the Rabbis, because none of your own are valid'

Face it- Yeshiva education is about as analytical as learning in a Madrassa. Go pick up a math/science textbook and get some real education.

Betzalel- dont kid youreself so does science and math youre statements only shows how ignorant you are of math and science you give youreself away.

jancsipista- I agree with you but... ""so" does science and math"... this implies that torah learning deserves to be put in the same category of analytical thinking as math and science. It doesn't!

Brian- youre right not only that but torah is used as a copout not to work and just actlike you own the world, work is only for those who are lower beings , so they hold it is not suited for them they are the masters this is the logical conclusion of just learning torah and nothing else.

Ultra Haredi Lite:
First-you are right. Making life easier for the Haredim is totally unfair to the Israeli taxpayer. Second-you are wrong. The battle must be won. Why? Because at the current rate of Haredi reproduction, they will be the majority in just a few decades. The State of Israel will collapse economically. The Haredim must work instead of collecting welfare and studying Torah all day.

The myth that studying nothing but Torah brings moshiach closer is a dangerous one. Israel survives not because of Judaism. It survives because it is an economic powerhouse in the middle east without benefit of natural resources. The economy is deeply based in technology. A technologically based economy relies on the educational levels of the citizens. Now you have two Israels: the economic powerhouse that provides programming for Microsoft, and you have Haredi Israel with an ignorant citizenry, unwilling to work, welfare bound, unwilling to serve in the military and demanding that the country bend to their will. This dichotomy will not last. If secular Israel wins the day, there is a chance for Israel's survival. If Haredi Israel silences secular Israel, there will be no Israel within 50 years.

Brian and jancsipista,

I don't know what your education in Talmud is. The education I got convinced me that it takes a lot of work to understand the nuances of the Talmud, which requires lots of analytical thinking. I had an incredible rebbe, probably the sharpest individual I've ever met in my life. Most discussions in the Talmud are about the Law and how it should be applied, not about whether G-d exists or whether the revelation at har Sinai actually happened. It's an axiom that it did, just like there are certain axioms in math.

I have a degree in math. It also takes lots of work to understand higher level math.

But I found learning Talmud to be much more difficult. Partly because I don't have an innate interest in what kind of korban I should offer for eating a spider missing a leg or how many lashes I deserve. But also because there are a lot of abstract concepts invovled in the Talmud.

All of the great Rabbis in history had professions. Rambam was a physician and Rashi was a vintner. A select few made their living as teachers or synagogue rabbis. The idea that EVERY Jew should study Torah all day and not work to support himself and his family is new and probably exclusive to Israel where the political system has created a large and growing class of lifelong welfare recipients who devote their lives to what Jacob Bronowski characterized as "pointless Talmudic discourse".

Betzale- good you have a degree in math but 99 per cent of hareidim dont you are an anomaly,can you please tell me what those learning torah contribute do they create something like a new machine, no they just release hot air nothing concrete

jancsipista,

Of course they don't contribute anything concrete. They are learning spiritual wisdom, not secular wisdom.

The Haredim helped me find my spiritual self. And they did this through learning Torah and then teaching it to me. They might not be creating new machines, but they help people like me who work and not learn Torah for a living be happier and more productive, so we can create new machines if we wish.

Betzale- whom are you trying to fool, youre only fooling youreself you can learn and work whats wrong with that what is this kollel nonsense the rabbonim are destroying their young generation who were brainwashed to only lear toireh this is a crime thousands of them dont make a living it is a shame to delude others for youre or the rebbis self agrandizement.

jancsipista

I think it is correct to teach a kid secular as well as Torah studies.

I think it is correct to teach a kid secular as well as Torah studies.

Posted by: Betzalel | December 23, 2011 at 02:20 PM

And that is the Halacha and that is what the Charedim consistently ignore.

Betzalel- I have a degree in physics. Don't bullshit with me here- mathematical axioms are self-evident truths (such as commutative multiplication of non- matrix/tensor quantities, i.e. abc = cab) , and mathematical methods built upon these are able to predict outstanding physical phenomena with exacting detail. But if one takes away the "axioms" of Talmud that you describe (which are not only non-evident, but superstitious to say the least) the you're left with a relic of the near east, and nothing of any practical value for the modern world. If you honestly hold a degree in math, and still believe the things that you stated, the I question the quality of your degree.

David said, "And that is the Halacha and that is what the Charedim consistently ignore."

I agree. You are supposed to teach your son a trait, according to halacha. In today's world, this means secular education.

Brian,

The axioms that are assumed to be self-evident truths today by mathematicians are not self-evident. For instance, check this out: http://bramcohen.livejournal.com/39662.html

Also, Cantor's Theorem leads to the ridiculous conclusion that there are different levels of infinity, aleph-null, aleph-1. This is based on the axioms of math (without the axiom of choice). So one can claim that the axioms of math are superstitions too.

The acceptance of infinity as something that can be dealt with directly is new, only a little more than 100 years old.

If axioms were self-evident, you wouldn't have to state them.

If a Yungerman wants to study goyishe science, he can do so tomorrow night.

Posted by: Waiting4Moshiach | December 23, 2011 at 08:23 AM

LOL. What are you planning to study tonight?

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