Zickerman spoke about several general changes that have occurred in charedi society:
- Leadership changes - There has been no real leadership since Rav Schach. Rav Elyashiv is a posek, not a leader; he does not give public speeches and does not enjoy the widespread support that Rav Schach had. Simultaneously, there has been a rise in charedi political leadership, e.g. charedi mayors. Such people realize that it is important to have residents who pay taxes!
- Cultural changes - Internet, even "kosher internet," is the Etz HaDaas of the charedi world. It shows charedim the existence of alternate views on all issues.
- Economical changes - The 2003 cuts in child benefits, and the recent recession, has taken a heavy toll on charedi society.
Zickerman described several ways in which the new charedim can be grouped together with conventional charedim:
- How they dress - They wear hats (at least, on Shabbos), and dress in a way that is distinctly charedi, albeit with a "modern" flair.
- Social identification - They do not form part of non-charedi shuls or communities. They don't recite the prayer for the IDF (even though many of them may have served in the IDF!). The sandak at the bris they make is Rav Chaim Kanievsky.
- Self-identification - They self-identify as charedi, perhaps largely because they don't know how else to classify themselves.
Zuckerman concluded by discussing the future of the new charedim, which I will write about in a different post. And that was the end of the presentation. As you may notice, there is some overlap between the new charedim and the post-charedim that I described in a Jerusalem Post article.
Coming up in the next post: The reaction of the conventional charedim to the new charedim.