Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Collapse of Charedi Society III: The People Respond

A few weeks ago, I posted a guest post from Marty Bluke that rapidly became the all-time most read post on this blog. It was a discussion from Mishpachah magazine on the economic collapse of chareidi society. A follow-up post discussed what the charedim will do about it. Now, Marty informs us that there was another follow-up in Mishpachah. They report receiving over two hundred and fifty letters on this topic (!). Here are two of them, first in the original Hebrew and then in translation:

My parents pay our rent and we go to them and my wife's parents just about every shabbos, and we also take frozen foods and cans. Yes we are parasites like the ones that you write about with disgust, and all of the older people who read the article probably clucked their tongues. All my life I was taught that I was supposed to sit and learn, also when they married me off, they expected me [to sit and learn] and I expected myself to sit in kollel. In my kollel we get 1000 shekel a month if we get it, sometimes we don't get anything. My wife works and makes 3000 shekel a month. So what do you want? We should die of starvation? We should live in the street? We shouldn't buy diapers? What do you want from us? You know that in the winter electricity costs 500 shekel a month and child care for 2 kids costs 1500 shekel? ...
An irritated/anxious Avreich
They married me off at 18 and three quarters. Suddenly, I learned that 4 pieces of salmon for Shabbos cost 50 shekel and that yellow cheese is much more expensive than regular cheese and that my studies cost so much money that there is no chance that I could ever pay for it myself. My husband learns in a kollel where new Avreichim don't get paid. We don't know exactly when a new Avreich turns into an old one [and starts getting paid]. I go to school and my parents pay for it. We go to my parents practically every day for lunch and we take vegetables for dinner and we also come for shabbos. If someone thinks that this is wrong, he should think twice before he marries off his next child this way. I know that I sound chutzpadik but I am not chutzpadik, I am frustrated.
Chava L. Yerushalayim

Marty comments as follows:
These letters paint a very bleak picture indeed. The children are frustrated, angry and upset that they have been put into this situation and you know what I don't blame them, what can they do at this point in their lives? They are married off completely unprepared for life. What is worse is that they are resentful and angry at their parents and Charedi society for putting them in this position. That doesn't bode well for the chinuch of the next generation.  If you read between the lines of these letters, there is a lot of pent up anger with the Charedi system which at some point may simply explode. 
The articles points out that the average Charedi kid who gets married has no clue about finances, home economics, etc. and therefore their big solution is to have classes when they are engaged to teach them these basics. IMHO, this is like a bandaid for a gunshot wound. Even if you have a PhD in Economics, you can't make something out of nothing. As the Avrech pointed out in his letter, you can't support a family on 4000 shekel a month, no matter how economics savvy you are. If 1500 shekel goes to child care and 500 for electricity that leaves 2000 shekel (about $500) for everything else for the month, that just doesn't add up.
The only way that this disaster can be treated is to start giving charedi kids a proper secular education and teaching them that working for a living is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, they are fighting this tooth and nail. Change is happening, but at a very slow place. There are already too many korbanos in the charedi world. The question is, will things change fast enough to prevent them dragging the entire economy of Israel down with them?

117 comments:

  1. Well I DO blame them. When things were good, when people fauned all over them and told them they were the real supporters of the Jewish people they were happy and content. Now suddenly reality hits them and they're helpless whingers.
    It was only a couple of generations ago that our grandparents survived on a few years of cheder education, the women sometimes on even less. Now we have these kids saying they can't figure out what to do next?
    Let me be harsh: You see that Arab sweeping the street? There's a job they're qualified for. The other one on the construction site? Yup, don't need a degree in engineering for that one. In fact, there's lots of good work all around Israel but only for those willing to follow the admonition of Chazal who said that one should tan hides in the market rather than live on charity.

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    1. I don't blame them. These are kids who have no real world practical experience. It's not their fault.

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    2. Exactly. Betzalel. These letters are cries for help. They are saying "Why are you angry at me? - All we've ever done is what we were told, taught and expected to do. And now its hard, sad and we are poor and miserable, with no hope and no way out and everyone is mad at us and calling us parasites for taking from our parents... but what else were we supposed to do? We were raised to do this and were told that this was the Path of the Holy- so.... what should we do? Please tell us - what should we do????"

      There is no other way than to bring them face to face with the truth. The Haredi leadership and the haredi politicians have built a society based on other people paying for them. The Haredi public has been badly betrayed and badly let down by their own leaders.

      And they have been let down by secular Israeli politicians who didn't have the courage to stand up and tell the truth. Who were happy to buy votes in the Knesset at the expense of the long term poverty of the haredi public.

      If I was Haredi today I would be furious at the Haredi leaders, furious at the Likud and Labor leaders and looking for other options. Someone who at least prepared to tell me the truth as a voter.

      Sometimes, you need someone to tell is as it is.
      Sometimes, it's time

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    3. I disagree.
      Two generations ago our grandparents got off the boat in North America and without knowing a word of English they went to work wherever they could and build the communities we live in today. You're telling me that these "klei kodesh" can't do the same?
      At some point you have to realize it can't go both ways. Is it:
      1) Learning Torah is all you need because all the knowledge in the world is contained in it
      Or is it:
      2) Learning Torah leaves you completely incapable of doing anything productive in the world
      You know what the real tragedies are?
      Some of these kids sit back and cry "What should we do?" Are they too stupid to figure out how to work at entry level jobs? They can't figure out how to flip burgers/
      The rest will realize that they have to rely on themselves and leave the Chareidi community and along with their learning they'll leave their tefillin and tzitzis behind too. And that's the horrible thing about all this, all the frum Jews we'll lose because they were raised to believe you're either frum and learning or out of it entirely

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    4. Garnel Ironheart, don't judge them unless you've been in their shoes. When my grandparents got off the boat in North America, they knew what real work was. These kids don't. Plus their culture is such that there is a stigma attached to real work. Plus their culture is such that whatever they do, they have to justify it with "My rav said it was OK". Breaking from this mindset is not so easy.

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    5. the economics of life have changed a bit since then, I think...

      these kids can get a whole slew of minimum wage, no training, entry level jobs, but it pays less than peanuts.
      do you know what a bank teller makes? Or even working in phone bank as a sales rep?

      gournisht.

      you can't feed even a small family off them. that's why the economics of laziness pay off. if i as a haredi get a job I am qualified for, then I earn peanuts. if i live off the state then I earn peanuts. so why work?

      getting jobs, getting your kids onto the ladder of economic life requires secular education, requires univerity degrees, requires a degree of worldly knowledge you can't get otherwise.

      sorry but that's how it is.

      and so that the rest of us don't have to keep paying the burden we have to get these guys into proper schools that teach math and science
      so that their kids have a chance not to live in poverty we have to get these guys kids into proper schools that teach math and science

      someone has to make it happen and who are you gonna call?
      Bibi - the guy who did nothing about this for years?
      Labor - the people who walked out of the knesset to avoid the vote on the draft which would have got loads of haredim back into a life of financial responsibility?

      Lapid? ahh.. now you're talking

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    6. Give it a rest, Israel Future. If Lapid did such a bang-up job, why is he due to lose half his seats?

      As to degrees, I dunno. Israel is full of electricians and plumbers who do quite well.

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    7. Israel Future, it's not just math and science. That's just the tip of the iceberg. It's how to communicate clearly and effectively in a working environment. This requires knowing how to write a composition in Hebrew or English. It's knowing how to think critically as professionals think in the 21st century. It's knowing how to relate to all kinds of people, not just Haredi. It's knowing how to function in an environment when you don't have your rav to ask shilos in situations when they are not around. And you get most of these things from experience, which they don't have.

      So it's a big dilemma, one that can be only solved on a grass roots level. I don't think Yesh Atid is going to solve this problem, as they are all outsiders. The Haredi are going to have to solve this problem themselves. If they don't, they have no future.

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    8. > i as a haredi get a job I am qualified for, then I earn peanuts. if i live off the state then I earn peanuts. so why work?

      When the Russian Jews got out of the USSR in the late 80's and starting showing up in my home town they quickly figured out that welfare and entry level salaries were equivalent and many opted for welfare. The rest figured out the obvious: an entry level salary is an opportunity, a chance to learn and move up in the business you've started with. Today's cashier might be tomorrow's local manager. I know a guy who started as a stock boy when he was 15 with a small local business, wound up as the national president of the company by the time he was down. Tell me, if they can't understand that then exactly what kind of smarts does full-time learning give one?

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    9. Mighty Garnel Ironheart, that's America, not Israel.

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    10. Garnel, the problem goes deeper than simply "get a job" - because despite their destitution, they are EXPECTED not to work and discouraged from getting jobs. Those folks who came off the boat and built a life did it by working, not by sitting in kollel. These kids are being told to stay in kollel. They have every right to be angry at being painted as theives and parasites for listening to their parents' educational message and then acting accordingly.

      Yes, they can make it from the ground up. But they can't do it while still sitting and learning all day, which is what they are expected to do by Chareidi society. Which is why the expectation is insane, and needs to go ASAP. But while it remains, Chareidi society can't paint these kids as the villains

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    11. Israel Future, that's a lot of people to be furious with, but shouldn't they be furious with the gedolim who orchestrated this system, sanctioned it, perpetuated it, and who instructed the politicians? Afterall, what have people like Gafni been doing other than listening to their gedolim, following and implementing their instructions?

      Do you expect those politicians to fall on their swords now to protect the image of the gedolim? How about instead we hold accountable those truly responsible? An honest accounting and societal self assessment. So that it can recalibrate and move forward. Is that so much to ask?

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    12. Betzlalel - of course I completely agree it's the whole caboodle of skills that are learned in a regular school / college. Social and academic and cognitive. But I think you are making the classic mistake that too many people have made for too long - which is thinking that the Haredi society alone is going to fix it. Haredi society has had years to face up to this problem and not only does it not face up to it, but rather it just makes it worse. You can't expect them to fix it alone from the inside.

      Yesh Atid is important because of two reasons: one, it's the only party that will stand up to the Haredi society and say "look guys you have to change" and two because it's the only party that is also saying "look guys you have to change and we are going to help."
      Yesh Atid has helped a lot - building haredi state schools and if you give them a vote then they will do more to help.
      Yesh Atid is the only answer out there. Bibi and Herzog will just fund more the bad old ways. Yesh Atid has the decency and integrity to respect frum choices but to expect more from their fellow Jews and is willing to put the time effort and money into making it happen.


      Nachum, though, I think you are wrong on all counts. First of all, don't trust polls, they were very wrong last time and will probably be wrong again. Second, if you vote for them, then they might do even better and actually improve the lot of Israelis in the wake of the election. Third, a staggeringly large percentage of Israelis struggle to make ends meet each month - even though they work. But be honest enough to accept the well known stats that those will college education on average earn much more than those without. And those with college education have many more doors open to them than those without.

      Yesh Atid's achievements so far on this score alone are impressive. They, more than any other party out there, deserve to be given the chance to improve things for Haredim and for the rest of us. Think about all the general good that comes from integrating haredim more into the workforce and into the tax paying community and that they will also feel more a part of Israel and not against Israel. Only Yesh Atid is actually working to achieve this. Read about it here:

      http://www.yeshatid.org.il/%D7%92%D7%99%D7%93%D7%95%D7%9C-%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%9E%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%AA%D7%99-%D7%91%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%A4%D7%A8-%D7%94%D7%97%D7%A8%D7%93%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%94%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%93%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%91%D7%90%D7%A7%D7%93%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%94-

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    13. Blame is useless.

      Marriage expert John Gottman always says "admit when you're wrong, shut up about it when you're right."

      Now, I'm going to assume two things for the purpose of this discussion that you're right.

      What to do about it? Well, if you want things to improve, you have to let the party in the wrong save face. Having them do something humiliating is going to provoke resistance, and I think there is some desire among seculars to humiliate the religious both in an Israeli and American context. If you want the best outcome going forward, just remember, "You were right. That should be enough. Shut up about it." Two populations sharing a country are like a married couple. Treat it like that. If you're wrong, admit it. If you're right, shut up about it.

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    14. I think Yesh Atid will be gone in 10 years, just like Shinui.

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    15. "Having them do something humiliating is going to provoke resistance."

      For charedi males, working for a living is humiliating.
      For charedim, going to the army is humiliating.
      Birth control is humiliating (and not having a large family is humiliating).

      So what are you suggesting, the status quo?

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    16. >>" Israel is full of electricians and plumbers who do quite well."

      That is a type of degree. People shouldn't get hung up over semantics. There are many types of practical education. Universities are good if you're going into the sciences and engineering, but for people wanting to learn a craft, like electricians or plumbers, a different type of education is necessary; the type that doesn't require 4 years of study.

      Yes, Lapid may be able to get this ball rolling so that Charedim will be able to be financially independent, while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, or as a dcimmi in New Palestine.

      In the end, this is fighting a culture that has itself locked behind a very secure fortress of dogmas and traditions that won't be breached by political ideas or internet fora. The leaders, themselves, need to be shown the damage that their way of life, invented after WWII, has caused. And for that, I wish lotsa luck.

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    18. Mark wrote:

      "For charedi males, working for a living is humiliating.
      For charedim, going to the army is humiliating.
      Birth control is humiliating (and not having a large family is humiliating)."

      1) Fine. I'll change my quote to "gratuitously humiliating."
      2) If the situation is handled correctly, then none of those things is humiliating. This is because they might be persuaded to do those things out of necessity and not because they see themselves as having been forced to it by a hostile secular outsider.
      3) We want the best outcome, right? We don't just want to rub the outsider's face in their mistakes, right?

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    19. Ari, I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "outsider" here. Working, going to the army, and having a small[er] family is humiliating to a charedi BY THE CHAREDI COMMUNITY they are living in, not by the secular and DL world around them. It is their own community that is projecting that humiliation upon them. So, again, what are you suggesting that is different than the status quo?

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    20. These things may be considered humiliating by the Chareidi community. But I think you need to add a phrase: "at present."

      People respond to incentives. People respond to necessity. And they'll do so better if they're not gratuitously humiliated.

      What, specifically, am I suggesting? Nothing other than to refrain from gratuitous humiliation and blame. As to specific concrete steps, I haven't a clue, other than to gradually (but as quickly as possible) shift the onus of support off the government and onto individuals.

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    21. > but for people wanting to learn a craft, like electricians or plumbers, a different type of education is necessary; the type that doesn't require 4 years of study.

      I don't know about Israel, but in the US, becoming an electrician or a plumber takes six years.

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    22. You can blame these kids if they were taught to be self-sufficient and responsible and went another direction. Such a kid gets what he/she chose. But these kids are taught one way by their parents and their teachers/rabbanim. How can they know there is another way, if not only were they were never taught that there's another way, but they were taught that whatever other way does exist is BAD, WRONG, UNHOLY! They were led like sheep their whole lives, and taught that it was good to follow, do what their rabbanim teach them and shun the unholy work world, and now people expect sheep to suddenly wake up, shift their paradigm, and become something else. Who does that to people? The parents that led them to this narrow little coral owe their kids a living. I know that's horrible to say and counter to everything rational but the parents and teachers/rabbanim (who should pitch in to support these nebuch kids who are their victims) KNOWINGLY led them to this situation in life. They knew it because it was a problem when the parents of this generation's kollel kids, were themselves in yeshiva and this problem was beginning to be discussed, even back in the 80s and for sure it was a known problem in the 90s. So parents my age (51), who were in yeshiva in the 80s chose to lead their kids down this dark road with no way to make it on their own.

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  2. I know this is slightly off-topic, but other than the belief drilled into us in elementary school that the Tannaim and Amoraim were borderline angels, why are we so sure that the importance of learning for learning's sake (a concept with no hint in Torah Shebichtav), including learning topics that are completely irrelevant to the practice of Mitzvot, was an invention of 'Gedolim' from 1,500-2,000 years ago, as a result of a social dynamic and 'leadership' by tunnel-visioned Talmidei Chachamim in much the same way that we view full-time learning for everyone in the Charedi world today.

    Needless to say, this question is not directed at Charedim alone

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    1. Well, note that most evidence we have from that period was written by the people learning full-time (or as full-time as it was). We don't really get a good picture of what the hamon am were doing. Not learning full-time, of course.

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    2. "We don't really get a good picture of what the hamon am were doing. Not learning full-time, of course."

      We know exactly what the hamon am were doing at the time ... they were working hard and eking out a living however possible. Whether working in the fields, or working at some menial job, or having a profession (that was permitted to Jews), or running a small business, they were all working hard to put food on the table.

      That's another thing that has to change in charedi society - they will have to stop relying only upon seforim for their history lessons, they will have to use secular sources of history as well.

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    3. An important point that must be repeated and repeated and repeated: The Gemara was written BY rabbis, FOR other rabbis. That is why you always read things like הלכה ואין מורין כן If the Gemara was written for the general public, something like that could not be written.

      Same thing with the preferential treatment, various tax exemptions, etc, that are said to the be the entitlements of talmidei chachamim. These viewpoints were written by talmidei chachaim, so its natural they had their own interests at heart. We have no evidence of what the hamon am thought about it. The Gemara dismisses all those who disagree as ליצנים but those "leitzonim" were in all likelihood regular Jews who didn't entirely subscribe to their way of thinking. Then, as now, there were entire cities dismissed as "leitzonim." Nothing has changed.

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    4. Well said, Mark and DF.

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    5. How does everybody else understand what Lion is asking? Lion--can you possibly read back what you wrote and help me understand your question? I want to take it seriously but... Yeah.

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    6. Rebbi Yochanon HaSandlar was... a shoemaker, and STILL a Tanna. Go to this link and see a listing of the professions of Tanna'im and Amora'im, and how they paid their bills.

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    7. Forgot to paste the link:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_H0r3WIzqn5g/TQ6bI6qn7oI/AAAAAAAADG0/ZeMJLsO2_lw/s1600/conserv.jpg

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    8. stlfansince77: do you really believe that chareidim don't know these sources? why are you writing as if you discovered something new? read the kesef mishna on this stuff.

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  3. Those two stories are success stories What about the Baal tshuva with no family and no money and no parenting skills . And somehow stay in Kollel for ten years . And then has to face the real world with some bitter kids, resentful wife,embarrassed and now works at a low paying annoying job and so on

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    1. How can I have any sympathy for someone who knows about economics and still goes for voluntary impoverishment?

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  4. Gershon DistenfieldJanuary 25, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    Like you Rabbi Slifkin, I've been concerned about the collapse of Charedei society for quite some time and have been very worried about what that ultimate collapse will do to Klal Yisrael.

    But until recently, I wasn't sure there was much that could be done to save them. Their leadership is clueless and the hamon am were behaving like sheep.

    If it's really true that many in the younger generation are open to escaping this type of miserable life, then maybe the time is right for a grass roots effort from people like us who really care about saving these people.

    I'm thinking something along the lines of a counter to the disastrous adopt-a Kollel program. How about an adopt-a-family program where people like you and me sponsor a family to get job training and ease into a more normal and responsible lifestyle?

    I'm sure there are avrechim that read this that are desperate to get out of this poverty stricken future that awaits them. I'll put my money where my mouth is. If anyone reading this is serious about wanting a better life for their family, email me at gershon.distenfeld@gmail.com

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  5. Corrected text:

    I know this is slightly off-topic, but other than the belief drilled into us in elementary school that the Tannaim and Amoraim were borderline angels, why are we so sure that the importance of learning for learning's sake (a concept with no hint in Torah Shebichtav), including learning topics that are completely irrelevant to the practice of Mitzvot, wasn't an invention of 'Gedolim' from 1,500-2,000 years ago, as a result of a social dynamic and 'leadership' by tunnel-visioned Talmidei Chachamim in much the same way that we view full-time learning for everyone in the Charedi world today.

    Needless to say, this question is not directed at Charedim alone

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    1. Is there any single conclusion in the Talmud (that you wouldn't a priori agree with) that you accept as authoritative?

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    2. Why are we so sure that run-on sentences are bad? Especially ones that take up an entire paragraph.

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    3. Also, just putting it out there, it is mentioned in the mishnah (pirkei ovos, 6) so... Also, for a explenation of what it is see Nefesh Hachaim shaar 4, also see chovos halevovos on it

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    4. Nefesh Hachaim is not explaining earlier sources, he is innovating a new approach to the meaning of lishmah. See http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/05/goal-of-torah-study.html

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    6. R' Slifkin- That would all be fine if there wasn't A) a mishnah in Avos (6) and B) The chovos Halevovos shaar 3 perek 4. The chovos halevovos was a rishon, and the mishnah is the mishnah. Even if none of that existed, rav chaim Volozin, a pillar of torah judaism, is allowed to innovate a new approach (but as seen above, it is not new).

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    7. I have no idea where you see a source in Avos or in Chovos HaLevavos. Meanwhile, I presented plenty of sources that say the opposite. If you want to follow a reformation of Rav Chaim, gezunte heit, but don't be surprised when others oppose it as being an innovation that goes against traditional Judaism.

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    8. "Even if none of that existed, rav chaim Volozin, a pillar of torah judaism, is allowed to innovate a new approach"

      Nobody is allowed to innovate a new approach that goes against nature or against emet. One, because it is impossible. Two, because it will come to rely upon miracles (which is assur). Three, because it is usurping the role of HKB"H which is the ultimate in kefira.

      חותמו של הקב"ה אמת

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    9. R' Slifkin- Mishna: "Rabbi Meir said, anyone who engages in Torah study for its own sake ('lishma') merits many things. Not only that (i.e. the unspecified things), but (also) the entire world is worthwhile (creating) for him alone...It (the torah) gives him kingship,...they reveal to him the secrets of the Torah. He becomes like an increasingly powerful river...It makes him great and exalted above all of creation." - Pirkei Avos Ch.6. IY"H i will quote the Choivos Halevovos later

      Mark- I do not think it is a innovative approach rather a classical one. Anyway, I was just thinking Rav Chaim Volozin or an annonymous blogger? Close one...

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    10. That is not what lishmah means! You are taking R. Chaim and retroactively projecting him on earlier sources!
      (Think about what shelo lishmah means, when used by Chazal, and you will realize what lishmah means)

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    11. "I do not think it is a innovative approach rather a classical one."

      This is clearly untrue. I don't know where you get your information from. In those years, if a Jewish community didn't work, they starved to death, period. All of history shows us that Jewish communities throughout history worked very hard to support themselves. Never, ever, was there a period in which a substantial number of the youth were taken out of the workforce. Never, not even once throughout all of history.

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    12. Okay Lion, I was wondering if this is what you were "asking." I am reminded of the famous parable about the person asking question or making statements. But basically you are taking yourself out of what we call traditional Judaism (although you may call yourself a true fundamentalist--returning to the text of the Bible and throwing out all our handed-down traditions). So there is not going to be any satisfactory answer for you. Any text I would give you would be corrupted by the same tanaim and amoraim. So you can watch this debate sociologically from the outside like the American Reform and Conservative.

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  6. Rabbi Slifkin,

    I am afraid that the answer to your question is probably no. Charedi society today is very much a top-down society where all the followers listen to the word of their leaders, the Gedolim, without any hesitation or any questions. It is only the Gedolim who can legitimize that change and they have no interest in doing so for several reasons.
    1. I am not sure that they are totally aware of what is going on in their community. Their contact with their community is often filtered by their handlers.
    2. They are often old enough that they can easily be manipulated by their handlers.
    3. To change would imply that they were wrong in stressing kollel all these years and they cannot do that.
    4. Any Gadol who tries to say anything in this direction will immediately be shouted down and demoted from being a Gadol.

    I am not very hopeful but I do hope that I am wrong.

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    1. I don't see in your list the most likely explanation:

      5. They know full well what is going on and are just as mistaken as their followers, and are at fault for their followers' beliefs.

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  7. I am in alignment with what these very young married people are saying here. I wonder if they will provide their children with what they have been deprived of - the means to support themselves?

    Sure, if the kids had better integrity then they wouldn't be nicking chickens from the shver. But individual integrity was never valued by there family and society. Rather, in Haredi society, conformity is king. The pressure for conformity brings certain benefits such as continuity. There is also a price to be paid.

    Garnel Ironheart - consider that the kollel avreich that quits his kollel. He very well might forfeit the rights to the house that he lives in if his father-in-law paid the down payment and is paying the mortgage. Its not a simple choice.

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    1. Agreed. The choices are not simple.
      I was married and had a baby by the time I turned 20. I get 1000 dollars from my parents every month. I am grateful for what they give, and couldn't live without it, not even for a one month break. My husband's in yeshiva, and I work a low-wage job for a medical billing company.
      If I or my husband choose to go to college, my parents will see no reason to support us- they are not wealthy, and the reason they give us this monthly allowance is that my husband should learn Torah.
      There is no easy way to break out of the cycle. I don't really have enough to live on, but I manage. I'm not complaining about my current financial situation. It's just that I don't really want to live on handouts, and I'm not given so much of a choice. Yes, I can technically take out loans, live on nothing, kill myself in college, or my husband can do the same- but I have children of my own now, and how will I feed them? I'm politically Conservative (one of a thousand reasons I don't vote for UTJ) and don't believe in welfare, but I seriously am not seeing the way out of my predicament.
      I never wanted to be a parasite. I'm an independent person by nature and am humiliated by the monthly bank transfers from my father's account. And I can't, for the life of mine, even think how we'll manage in several years, if right now we're on the brink. Suffice it to say, I'm not doing this to my children, if only because I can't afford to :)
      I know a portion of chareidi leadership is working on more advanced education (Belzers, Gerrers go to michlala chareidit in large numbers) but it doesn't help people who are already on the dole or married and strapped with children. So my sympathies with the young letter writers. How can you blame someone for being a parasite after you set up their lives in such a way that it is virtually impossible for them to respectably earn a living?

      I am not angry at anyone, just sad watching the road to hell being paved with all those good intentions. I sometimes feel guilty that I am not grateful enough to my parents. They work hard for their money, and they're being exceptionally generous for what they have.

      Delete
    2. "I get 1000 dollars from my parents every month. I am grateful for what they give, and couldn't live without it, not even for a one month break."

      What are your plans for after your parents ad meah v'esrim die?

      Delete
    3. I am not saying this is a rational arrangement. Or that I feel secure financially. Or that I would have chosen this. Or that I'm not scared out of my wits for what the future brings.
      Just explaining how stuck you could feel on my side of the pond and why I am not joining the chorus of people who say "Suck it up and take care of your own life."
      I would love to, for too many reasons to mention, be able to even dream of financial independence. Not least of which, לא לידי מתנת בשר ודם- the humiliation of taking includes taking from one's parents.
      I have no plans and that is the precise problem that I'm trying to convey.

      Delete
    4. Here's an idea - talk to your parents about it. Work together with your parents, your husband, and your in-laws to develop a five year plan that would make you financially self-sufficient. Anonymous, you clearly have a decent secular education. My guess is you are an American living in Israel. Figure out what your strengths and skills are and what vocational path would suit you best. It would take coordination and sacrifice - perhaps loans, perhaps your husband providing childcare while you go to school - but if you approach it as a team effort, it might work. I bet your parents would be thrilled to hear that you aren't happy with taking their monthly support.

      Delete
    5. miraim has a good idea, but if that isn't feasible for your situation--can your husband start classes without them knowing? It seems you're in Israel and I don't know how it works there, but I think there are educational opportunities for kharedim. If not, the way t works in the US is you get education loans with a minimum number of hours in college--he can learn above that. Obviously you would have to hide this from your parents, but it seems the right road and you can even pay some of their support back if he iy"h does manage a job after he graduates in a few years.

      Delete
  8. Why can't the Gedolim simply say as others have said that the course was correct for after the shoah, but now B"H it is no longer needed and is in fact not appropriate?

    Is there any way to have a good discussion with these "handlers"?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Like the Supreme Court says it will eventually phase out affirmative action.

      Delete
  9. >>The only way that this disaster can be treated is to start giving charedi kids a proper secular education and teaching them that working for a living is the right thing to do.<<

    You are talking about two things: secular education and working for living. These two things don't have to go together. A Satmar community is a good example. There are probably around 100,000 Satmars in Brooklyn. They don't go to colleges, but most of them do work for living and many make pretty decent money. You don't need a college [where you will be subjected to indoctrination you into secular ideology] to be a real estate agent, be in a diamond business, run a restaurant etc.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You are talking about two things: America and Israel. America can survive with a million charedim in unskilled professions. Israel cannot.

      Delete
    2. There is a lot of poverty in Satmar, and the 15% of well off do not offset that. There is also a lot of welfare reliance (that's why Kiryas Yoel is officially the poorest place in America), much of it illegitimate.

      Delete
    3. I disagree. As racist as it sounds, there are enough jobs out there to keep all the Chareidi men busy but currently those jobs are done by Arabs. Please don't tell me the same kids who are begging for money are too proud to do those jobs.

      Delete
    4. Now, this will sound worse than anything written before:
      How about young families leaving EY for greener pastures?

      Delete
    5. How about young families leaving EY for greener pastures?

      How will moving to the US be a solution for an Israeli Chareidi family, assuming that he can get a permanent status visa?

      Delete
    6. but currently those jobs are done by Arabs.

      I disagree that this is a solution. The contractors, stores, restaurants won't be so eager to hire Israelis for whom they'll have to pay bituach leumi, pension, health, vacation days.

      Delete
    7. Lazar: "Indoctrination" doesn't happen everywhere. There are "frum" places to learn.

      Shimon: Of course, the welfare claims may themselves be illegitimate, but you took the words out of my mouth. Maybe in 1955 all the Satmar worked. But the Litvish and Chassidish worlds have taken the worst from each other.

      Ben: Visas can be, and are, gotten in, shall we say, creative ways.

      All those businesses have to pay benefits to their Arab workers too, if they're honest. If they're not, they won't pay them to Jews either.

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    8. All those businesses have to pay benefits to their Arab workers too, if they're honest. If they're not, they won't pay them to Jews either

      Cheating a West Bank worker is one thing, cheating an Israeli citizen, cognizant of his rights, is another. Getting a permanent visa is not nearly as simple as you make it out to be, especially for someone without training and a family.

      Delete
    9. True. I was thinking of Israeli Arabs. Although it's not just "cheating"- this can be done with the agreement of both sides. Illegal, of course.

      I've known charedim who were in the US legally somehow. Shtick can always be pulled, especially with client politicians and a loose immigration policy.

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  10. All I can say is that the most unattractive qualify is passivity. I feel bad for these "kids" and they certainly didn't make their bed alone. But there is still much they can do.

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    1. I also don't understand the whole situation. What are these yungerleit studying? Esoteric mystical compilations? No. They are learning about tort and business law. The whole Talmud is filled with people working sand paying for things. how can they go through life never even being curious about how these work in modern society. I just can;t possibly get into their mindset. I know different parents involved their kids in household finances to varying degrees, but this is still ridiculous. And before they got married they never asked these questions? Or did they and the parents lied? These particular letters may nto be stealing from their parents either--if the parents said part of arrangement is you'll eat lunch by us that's fine. As long as there's some path for the future.

      Delete
  11. Not only will secular education be necessary, but so will birth control. At this point, there is simply no choice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree that the "avreichim" are to blame. They are grown ups. They should know that smooching or living off others is wrong, and once they realize that, they should go out and get a job. I agree with Garnel Ironheart. If necessary, they should become janitors, grocery clerks, or construction workers. The pay is terrible, but Arab families live off it and so can they. This is not ideal, but there are enough jobs out there that Arabs currently have that charedim can take if they're willing to live like their Eastern European forbears (i.e., with very little).

    The smart ones, incidentally, will find other jobs -- business etc. Lazar is right. There are plenty of jobs that one can get or make for oneself if one is smart, has ambition, and/or has an entrepeneur spirit.

    Rabbi Slifkin, I wouldn't worry so much about what kind of jobs they get from an economic standpoint. Like I said, if all Arab workers were replaced by charedim, I think the economy would survive just fine. (From a Torah standpoint, though, the lack of education prevents certain people from developing their G-d-given talents. In other words, they won't be serving Hashem the way they ideally could.)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A million unemployed, impoverished arabs would cause just as many, if not more problems as a million unemployed hareidim. As much as we care about our fellow yidden, substituting their labor for arab labor just isn't an economic solution. The only possible solutions to this problem are a) the haredim get secular education and learn professions b) they leave Israel for an economy that can absorb their unskilled labor.

      Delete
    2. Um... if one population has to leave, why can't it be the Arabs? And I'm not sure what you're basing your economic theories on. Everything is a matter of supply and demand and maximizing profit. If a charedi man offers to work for the same pay as an Arab does, the economy does not lose out. If he offers to work for less, the economy benefits.

      All this of course is beside the point. Hardly any charedim will work for such low wages.

      But I think we should be very careful before we dictate solutions for other people. We are not dictators or totalitarians. We can make suggestions, but we dare not impose solutions. Everyone has the right to run his or her own life. Imposing solutions on other people is evil.

      If they decide to die of starvation, that's their problem. It's not yours and it's not the state's.

      Delete
    3. Maybe it would encourage Arab migration to elsewhere?

      Delete
    4. Yehudah: But if those people are doing what they're doing because you're paying for it, you have every right to cut off the money.

      Delete
  13. What do you want from us?

    Here comes the harsh, upper middle class white man response: How about birth control? Having kids doesn't cause poverty, but it certainly exacerbates the problem.

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    1. Agreed- I've asked the following question on numerous blogs dozens of times: How can a husband and wife living in the midst of poverty continue to have children that they have no ability to afford to care for; knowing that each child will further inure them taking public assistance to support their growing family? I cannot understand why birth control is apparently taboo to so many Haredim (many, but not all).

      I disagree with one point- having kids does cause poverty; it's expensive to have them, and to raise them. If you're flat broke and your wife gets pregnant, you're going to be more broke by the time she delivers. After that, as the kid grows up, the costs are enormous. If the father learns in Kollel and the mother earns a meager salary, the situation becomes dire.

      Delete
    2. In conventional Chareidi "Chosson Seforim" (guides), there is usually no mention of birth control, or if there is, it will be condemned / frowned upon. I do recall one Sefer saying there are circumstances when BC is okay, but economic considerations do not count.

      2 conflicting Gemoros spring to mind:

      1. Bahadi Kuvsheh deRachmonah, lomoh loch (King Chizkiyah was thus rebuked for employing BC to avoid having a wicked son)

      2. on the other hand, ayn somchin al haness - living with a large family on pennies is virtually miraculous.

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    3. Here's an excellent, comprehensive article on the topic, if you're interested in a Torah perspective that isn't totally nonchalant about most of its adherents ending up on the dole:

      http://finkorswim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Contraception.pdf

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    4. If you're flat broke and your wife gets pregnant, you're going to be more broke by the time she delivers

      i would call "being flat broke" the horse and "pregnant" the cart.

      Delete
  14. I am also doubtful whether their community, as a community, is capable of change. Remember, we are always told that the goal of the community is to find the "ONE", i.e. the one who is the next potential "gadol hador" and make sure he stays in kollel permanently. The others who drop out are simply the price that has to be paid to make sure there is a self-perpetuating elite, who are viewed as the essence of Am Israel.
    Although some think there are changes taking place in their community in what we consider to be a "positive direction" , I see things going in the opposite directions....the ongoing separation of groups that only marry among themselves, Sefardim, Hozrim B'Teshuva, Hasidim, Mitnagdim, etc, etc. Add to this the move now to creating an out-and-out Indian-style caste system where special schools and communities are set up to separate otherwise totally Haredi families but whose fathers work away from those whose fathers don't. Rav Berel Wein himself pointed out that it is more prestigious now among many people to live off tzedaka and to spend one's time, NOT IN THE BEIT MIDRASH, but rather going around and collecting money for themselves, just so people won't think they work, perish the thought. A society going in this direction is hopeless, so all we can do is what Gershon Distenfield suggests that we set up a safety net to keep these people within the religious world but with a healthier lifestyle and attitude, instead of having them become embittered and anti-religious as did so many people who fled the yeshivot and Hasidic courts before the Holocaust.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Once upon a time they screened who went into kollel and if you weren't going to be the next gadol hador you were told to go and work for living. Why can't we get rid of this "innovation" of learn-don't-earn and follow the mesorah our grandparents did?

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  15. Sorry to join the discussion as a dissenter but it just irks me when people start to talk about birth control. I mean, isn't it a bit presumptuous for self- styled liberals (and we all claim to be liberals) to tell people whether to have children, and act as if they are a burden to society. They are not! Even the poorer people, and EVERY society has poorer people, are not to be denigrated for existing, or for not making a decent living.
    I educate my kids with full bagrut etc. but I strongly doubt they will be self- supporting if they marry early, as Yeshiva plus army plus education plus training will finish at about 28. Or are you suggesting we should delay their marriage like Rambam says? This is ridiculous, to blame it all on Chareidi lack of education. Most of these people will go out to work at low income jobs in the next few years, especially the new member of kollel who gets nothing.

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    1. There's a small difference between those who have kids and get a bit of help with it for a while and those who have a very large number and expect them (and all of their kids, etc.) to be paid for by the state.

      Look, I'm as suspicious of the state as the next normal person. But once you indenture yourself to it, it calls the shots, rightly or wrongly.

      Delete
  16. There are seventeen different construction trades that Charedim can enter; Ironworkers, Steelworkers, Stonemasons, Cement Masons, Glaziers, HVAC technicians, Painters, General Laborers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, etc etc. Most of these jobs (other than laborer) requires years of apprenticeship, but you end up making a very good wage. And you dont need any pre-requisites to enter the trade schools. If you're smart and a go-getter, you can do VERY well, easily better than most doctors and lawyers, at least in Israel.

    This is a male-dominated profession, so there are no tznius issues to contend with. It's a clearly defined schedule job, so tefillah and sedarim can be kept. It provides exercise, a sorely needed item in the Charedi world. And it's a skill that can be put to use in the home, as well as the site.

    What yeshivah or shul wouldn't want to construct or renovate a building with a crew comprised entirely of religious Jews? There's a natural client base for it. And more charedi workers means not having to make up for the lack of workers with Arabs or foreign workers.

    In short, Chardedi construction is an obvious, obvious solution to so many problems. I wrote an article more than 10 years ago on this subject, called "the Black Hard Hat." Rabbi Berel Wein - my rebbi - loved it and encouraged me to publish it, calling it "Just what the doctor ordered."

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm a lawyer myself and think construction would be a good idea here, but I'm just have to point out the irony here- I imagine no one commenting here works with their hands. Am I wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are probably right, but it's not an issue for Americans. The default Jewish mode is to work with the mind, not with the hands. But that can change. Look how the early Zionist pioneers promoted the "holiness" (or "glory", if you prefer) of working with one's hands. Those Jews had the same prejudices against manual work as any Jew today. Yet they came, by the tens of thousands, and built up cities and farms and buildings, by the sweat of their brow and the work of their hands.

      There's no such thing as "it can't be done." The secular Jews were able to change an entire culture and mindset by preaching and promoting it. It wasn't rebbehs and rosh yeshivahs who caused the revolution, it was ordinary men. Are the Charedi leaders incapable of doing the same?

      Delete
    2. "Default"? Maybe in the US since 1930 or so, but not before, not in the non-Ashkenazi world, and not in the Eastern Europe that the chalutzim were coming from. They were promoting *agriculture* specifically, which Jews in Eastern Europe did, but not so much. But work they did.

      Delete
    3. I take your point that for some (most) of the Eastern Europe chalutzim, there was no stigma against manual labor. However, then as now, for the better-off families there was such a stigma. And certainly in Germany the stigma existed. And yet chalutzim came from both Germans and better-off families.

      At any rate, I think part of the reason the Charedi construction corp hasn't been developed yet (in addition to their aversion to work, period) is the belief that they are all too smart for such menial jobs. You know, the belief that years learning in yeshivah - assuming they are actually learning - makes one automatically fit to be a lawyer. Or engineer, or someone in computers. Few myths are as cherished to the modern charedi psyche as that one.

      Delete
    4. I live and Baltimore and there are plenty of people here who work blue-collar or other "hands-on" occupations. There are a whole bunch of orthodox plumbers, exterminators, locksmiths, roofers, and for that matter, caterers, photographers, videographers, bakers, Shochtim, launderers, etc. which are largely manual occupations, at least when you get started. I'm not saying that this is a solution for everyone, but this most certainly doesn't exclude you from the community in any way.

      Delete
    5. Also, I think that almost all people can benefit from learning to do at least basic repairs and carpentry with their own hands. Besides the inherent value in this, it is a lot cheaper to fix the leaky faucet yourself rather than calling the plumber. It's also a lot cheaper to build a Sukkah than to buy one. This goes a long way for everyone but the very well-off given tuitions and all the other expenses of Orthodox living.

      Delete
    6. You're right Nachum (lawyer too), but I want my kids to have vocational training. Every community has frum people who do real labor (plumbing, electricity, etc.) who you can apprentice with. They're too busy doing real work to comment here. :)

      Delete
    7. > I imagine no one commenting here works with their hands. Am I wrong?

      I do. But it wasn't planned that way, it just kind of happened. I started doing handyman work during my internship for my Masters (when I had no regular income), the bottom fell out of the economy just before I graduated, and my field suddenly wasn't hiring any more. So I stuck with the handyman work. And I make more per hour painting and patching drywall then I ever would have using my degree.

      > I think part of the reason the Charedi construction corp hasn't been developed yet (in addition to their aversion to work, period) is the belief that they are all too smart for such menial jobs.

      They underestimate the intellectual components of the trades. It's a different kind of smart than learning gemara, but it takes knowledge and intelligence to properly wire a house or plan the layout of a room.

      Delete
  18. For reasons that should be obvious, I am commenting as an anonymous. I have not the excuse of being raised charedi. I was raised as an uneducated, secular American, working class dog. Blue collar, hard working, low expectation (b'gashmius) guy. I fell for the whole Ohr Somayach, charedi shtick. Yet I was a shaygetz because I was actually concerned about supporting my future family. I've only myself to blame because I knew better yet listened to what everyone told me, "Don't worry, just do your hishtadlus, be kovea ittim, and everything will be fine." Well it's NOT! And I gave up my old umnus, have been working for close to 20 yrs for a frum company and have nothing but DEBT to show for it. No savings, no pension... Don't fall for it. Adhere to what you know and add mitzvah observance whilst living the responsible life you know you should. The level of gashmius that the modern frum mishpocha "needs" in todays society is TRULY SICKENING. This is not what I forsaw when jumping in. Sorry for being anonymous, but iI have children in schools.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I fell for the whole Ohr Somayach, charedi shtick
      I also fell for it when I was there in 1976 and then continued falling in Yeshiva Derech Chaim
      I know how you feel and fell

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    2. Sorry for being anonymous, but I have children in schools.

      Far be it from me to give you advice, but perhaps a suggestion: You seem to be stuck now in the same rut that got you into trouble in the first place. Perhaps you need to move into a different Orthodox society where they don't throw your kids out of school for posting your opinions on a blog, or for working in a blue collar job for that matter. Your kids might also appreciate it one day.

      Delete
    3. I get so sick when these young people meet up with Aish and drop out of college. They have one semester left but are told they have to leave for Israel immediately, forget their degree. So messed up. My wife and I try our best, but they usually follow Aish. I don't understand these people.

      Delete
  19. Betzalel expressed doubt about if success stories of people starting at the botton in North America can be replicated in Israel. Most Israelis are not poor. Israel has an economy that is considered more flexible than the US or Europe. Forunately, the suffocating, corrupt, stagnant socialist system that plagued the country for decades and held back its development is being dismantled.. This means a person can get a good job with the "proteksia" that was once needed. I got a good job in a government company as a religious American oleh hadash almost 30 years ago. They were and are looking for competant people who will work hard. I also don't believe there is an anti-haredi bias in employers. Most want people who can perform, period. Religious people are respected because they are more disciplined in general. Unfortunately, there is a widespread "victimization" feeling among Haredi i.e. "everyone hates us", 'employers won't hire haredim", "we can't work in a secular environment because of tzniut problems' etc, etc which inculcates a defeatist attitude in the potential Haredi job seeker. It is time to change this mindset.

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    1. Obviously I meant to say that "proteksia" is much LESS important than it once was under the old socialist system.

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    2. I read that 80% of Israelis have negative bank accounts.

      Delete
    3. I also don't believe there is an anti-haredi bias in employers.

      i do.

      Delete
    4. Betzalel-
      Israelis also have a high rate of long-term savings, far beyond what Americans have. This ends up covering up the loans they take out.
      Ben Waxman-
      I see Haredim working in all kinds of fields, including the IDF. Non-Haredi religious Jews are becoming prominent in ALL fields, and as a result there is much more concern for Kashrut and other religious requirements including tefillah time for religious employees than there used to be.
      There is much less "religious-hiloni" polarization than there used to be. I have been in Israel for 28 years and I have seen a big change in this. Young Israelis are much more respectful towards SINCERE religious Jews and are willing to make accomodations for them as long as they don't push it on them (e.g. forcing women to sit in the back of the bus).
      If they want to work and do a good job, they will find employment.

      Delete
    5. i also work in hi tech here and don't see that many chareidim. i've walked on rehov habarzel during various parts of the day and i rarely saw chareidim. same in qyiryat aryeh. when asked, i always tell people not to add too many personal details on their CV, just name and cell phone. not marital status, address, or number of kids.

      part of this is simply the lack of friends in the business. it always helps to have a friend bring your CV to HR as opposed to faxing it. part of it is real prejudice.

      Delete
    6. Ben Waxman-
      I still am not clear about the "prejudice" matter. You are quite right that you don't see a lot of Haredim in many industries, but is that due to prejudice or lack of qualifications and desire on the part of potential Haredi job applicants. Many "Torani" RZ people DO work in all these industries and they have a larger-than-average number of children and higher standards of Kashrut and the such so I don't think those details and demands were automatically turn off many employers.

      Many years ago I read an article about a Haredi computer man who IIRC won the very prestigious Israel Defense Prize for working on the brilliant system that neutralized the Syrian anti-aircraft sytem in the 1982 Lebanon War. He did not want to be identified and he hid the certificate he got for the prize so the neighbors won't know what he does. If being ashamed of doing things like this is so prevalent in Haredi society, then that tells me that "worrying about what the neighbors will think if I work instead of being in the Beit Midrash all day" is a bigger factor in keeping down Haredi employment in industry than "discrimination".

      Delete
    7. My chareidi cousin didn't even tell her own brother that her husband took a computer job, because it was a busha.

      Delete
    8. "My chareidi cousin didn't even tell her own brother that her husband took a computer job, because it was a busha."

      This one kind of makes sense, especially if the brother had children that were "in shidduchim" at the time. It's better for the brother to not know and therefore not have to lie (when they ask "where do your brother's and brother's in law learn?") when discussing prospective shidduchim.

      Delete
    9. Ben Waxman: there may or may not be discrimination, but so what? Jews have always faced discrimination everywhere and have pushed forward anyhow. There were quotas on Jews in various professions such as law that we nevertheless became successful in.

      More importantly, high tech is intensely competitive. There is no way to enforce any "gentleman's" agreement in that field as there was in the past wrt to law. If an employer is really discriminating and undervaluing a potential talent pool, that employer will end up hurting.

      And let's be real: I don't know exactly how Israeli high tech works, but in the US, the variety of accepted personalities, looks, dress, and quirkiness is much wider than in almost any other field. If you can perform, you are valued. I can't imagine, given the competitive pressures, than Israeli high tech is any different.

      Delete
    10. Return of the MonikerJanuary 30, 2015 at 12:29 AM

      The assumption that sufficiently lucrative wok will inevitably come to those with sufficient gumption to seek it is almost as ideological as the assumption that the Kollel economy will somehow work. Poorly skilled, insular minorities in a nepotistic, beauracratic economy will face real issues earning enough to provide for their large families.

      Many will be drawn to make yerida.

      Delete
    11. How did an otherwise intelligent group of people get to the point where there is a stigma attached to working in a white collar profession? I'm a baal teshuva and can't understand this.

      Delete
  20. I thought that Avoth 2:2 made it clear that Torah should be joined with a worldly occupation. How did we ever get away from that clear statement, studied every year?

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    1. On the one hand, I agree, but on the other hand:

      1) The Torah makes it clear that we should rid ourselves of Chametz on Pesach, How did we ever get away from such a clear statement, studied every year?

      2) Tanach makes it clear that Devorah was a female leader of B'nei Yisrael. How did we ever get away from such a clear statement, read every year in the Haftarah?

      3) The Torah makes it clear that attacking other nations to capture their people as slaves is condoned behavior. How did we we ever get away from such a clear statement, studied every year?

      4) The Torah makes it clear one must cancel all their debts every 7 years. How did we we ever get away from such a clear statement, studied every year?

      Etc. Things do change. This just happens to be a change for the worse...

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    2. Just on point #4--even though the others are debatable as well--Hillel instituted the Prozbul because annulling of debts, like Shmitta in general, became "only" a derabbanan, because the majority of Jews weren't living in Israel. If people would refrain from lending money because of annulling of debts, they would be transgressing another issur d'orayisa of "לא תקפות את ידך".

      I read that 43% of the world's Jews presently live in Israel--it would be very interesting what would be the ramifications if, by the next Shmitta, over 50% of the world's Jews would be in Israel, and the prozbul would no longer be an option.

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    3. Two different issues:

      1) When are changes authorized and how. There you get into the questions that you mention.

      2) That there is change. Of that there is no question. The explicit reason for Pruzbul was to address the fact the that Torah rule was not working well practically. Had that not been the case, the Pruzbul would not have been instituted. Change was necessary.

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    4. Return of the MonikerJanuary 30, 2015 at 12:36 AM

      Its fair to say that the mishna in avot is fa from the last word on the issue in Rabbinic literature..... Judaism has many legitimate self consistent conflicting streams. by an ill defined process of synthesis can one arrive at a workable strategic direction for life which also adequately expresses objective realities of daily existence.

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  21. The real problem is marriage (or birth control). Without kids you can do anything. With kids you are in deeeeeep trouble when you finally get your act together. If they want to learn they need to get married later (ala the American Chofetz Chaim system). If they want to get married then they have to come up with an income plan first, whether vocational or professional.

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