A Guest Post about Charedim and the Economy
Thank God the comments here are filled with doomsday prediction haters.
But there is another doomsday prediction we really should worry about: וחרה אף ה' בכם...ואבדתם מהרה מעל הארץ הטובה אשר ה' נתן לכם.
Though surely if such a thing would (God forbid) happen, they would blame it on us...
"A Guest Post about Charedim and the Economy"
Does your guest post come with guest censorship? Or will the previously banned be allowed to comment?
Edit- Due to my poor educational background, I've been reduced to posting links to other sites. And I only get paid a third of what secular commenters who do the same thing get.
"But, without a revolution in Charedi education and employment, the terrifying alternative is change only occurring when there are tens of millions of Charedim living in ramshackle accommodation with a Somalia-like life expectancy amidst marauding Iran-backed militias, and anyone who is able to has left the country already. "
Won't they all be dead already from coronavirus and rat-borne diseases?
It’s always interesting to see self-proclaimed experts who haven’t the slightest clue about the distinctions between the Chareidi economy and the Chiloni economy. For example, this post is self-contradictory. If the Chareidi population grew by 71% in 14 years then most chareidi adults are below 35 years old. Therefore, it is quite astounding that Chareidi women earn 73% of what their non-Charedi counterparts earn, despite their young age. Even the earning power of Chareidi men makes sense considering their young age, combined with the fact that they are initially restricted by the government from working and the private sector discriminates against them (and the general tendency of Chareidim for asceticism and frugality).
In addition, much ado is made about the cost of funding Chareidi youth (“receives 52% more in welfare payments”). However, no mention was made about the cost of funding the many elderly Chilonim. Funding the elderly is well known to be a looming crisis in much of the developed world. Additionally, no mention was made about the other parts of the government budget which is funneled mainly towards chilonim.
These are just a few of the article’s glaring omissions. Clearly, the author is not interested in the truth but only on making bombastic doomsday predictions.
With all due respect to the author M's chareidi education (which I share) and "work" in the "financial sector", this post is highly speculative, thinly-supported scaremongering. (For the purposes of establishing credentials only, I have an undergraduate degree in Engineering and in German, a postgraduate diploma in special education and psychology, and over 30 years in education including nearly two decades in senior leadership and management in the secular education sector in the UK.)
In general, I share the view that the chareidi community must become better secularly educated, must change the approach in some sub-sectors (because the chareidi community is far from homogeneous and monolithic) towards engagement with the State, and must become more economically productive, and less dependent upon benefits, in all sectors of the economy.
However, the doom-laden scenario painted by M is more the stuff of horror fiction than of responsible socioeconomic forecasting. His superficial use of simplistic statistics shows poor understanding of the complex issues. Just as one, glaring example: if he can't recognise that 56% of chareidi men being in paid employment already represents a radical sea-change, and one which is growing rapidly - and as a % of a numerically exponentially growing sector of the population! - compared to quite recent times (let alone 14 years ago), which renders his whole argument moot, then he's simply unqualified to comment.
The CBS figures indeed deserve careful analysis, and the chareidi sector indeed needs to urgently promote more outward-looking people to leadership and influence, and to develop organisations and frameworks that promote economic self-sufficiency. But there are already really significant signs of this starting to happen. Early days, to be sure, and no room for complacency.
However, one very positive take-away from that CBS graph that has got M into such a tizz is that it is the chareidim, with their top-of-the-league population rate of increase of growth, who will ensure that Israel remains an overall Jewish state. Take them out of the picture, and the MO and secular Jewish population sectors combined, which have slowing rates of growth, would probably find themselves in a century's time or less living in an Arab-majority state: and it would remain neither democratic nor secular for very long.
This guy seems like a great big expert in something.
Let's read his words:
As a recent series of articles based on data from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics in the Calcalist newspaper makes clear, the underlying trend with respect to the Charedi population's impact on Israel's economy is deeply alarming.
It's that word 'trend' that is hidden there, so innocently, that got me thinking. This guy is about to explain to us that even though it looks like the trend is on the way up, it is really on the way down.
Let us read further and see how he explains his point:
Firstly, the 56% of Charedi men who work is still dramatically lower than the 87% of non-Charedi men in employment. Furthermore, the average wage for working Charedi men is only 50% of that of non-Charedi Jewish men. Taken together, this means that Charedi men earn only a third as much from work as non-Charedi men do. While the Charedi female employment rate is closer to that of non-Charedim (78% vs 82%), Charedi women continue to earn only 73% of what their non-Charedi counterparts earn. In comparison to the average non-Charedi household, the average Charedi household pays only 30% as much tax but receives 52% more in welfare payments. The educational disparities are similarly steep: only 4% of Charedi men have a high school qualification, in contrast to 87% of non-Charedi men.
Does anyone see the word, or the concept, 'trend' in there? This has nothing to do with any trends at all. It may be true (it may also be bunk statistics, I wouldn't be surprised), but it is not a trend, it does not show a trend and it has nothing to do with the trend.
When we read articles with blatant misdirection and red herrings, we should know what to do with the rest of his words.
"Perhaps surprisingly, given the intense focus on the deteriorating relationship between Israel's various Jewish sectors of late, recently released Charedi employment numbers are ostensibly encouraging. Data from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics shows that the proportion of Charedi men in employment rose to a record 55.8% in the first half of 2023, up from 52.0% in 2015. Presumably driven by the surging cost of living, the Charedi male employment trend is at least pointing in the right direction.
Unfortunately, any sense of relief from this increase is premature. ...
First of all, it should be noted that the underlying trajectory is broadly in line with what has been warned about."
Studies show that doomsday cults tend to claim that the predicted catastrophe is right around the corner. And then the next corner after that.
Also, why are you assuming that charedi trends in the right direction won't escalate? Perhaps because because, as 'Studies show,' 'human beings struggle to grasp the concept of exponential growth'?
My first instinct is to agree with this post - Charedim should work, shouldn't they? No argument from me there. On second thought, the only ואבדתם מהרה מעל הארץ is for not following the Torah, something that has manifested in history more than once. Why is RNS not concerned about that? If Hashem brought us here after 2000 years of galus miraculously, I believe well be fine.
What surprises me is that Rabbi Slifkin generally looks at issues levelheadedly and without getting carried away and yet when it comes to this issue he's got a blind spot. In the same way he has a knee jerk reaction against conspiracy theories, those who see trump as 100% evil or 100% messiah, and similar such phenomena, so too here the knee jerk reaction should be to be wary of doomsday predictions of a movie style, apocalyptical, societal collapse. History just doesn't seem to work that way. Processes are incremental and slow. societal problems are usually solved organically not by external fiat, with internal pressures leading to gradual adaptation and change. This is how things generally work in the real world.
But the truth is, I don't think Rabbi Slifkin himself really believes this (in the same way that he says that chareidim don't really believe that torah protects but just say they do). If he really believed it he should be on the first boat out of Israel with his family to ensure his kids and grandkids future. Anyone familiar with the Israeli political and societal scene knows that there will not be massive sudden change put on the charedim externally. Its just impossible. So according to the logic of this post the country is 100% doomed.
Come on. You sound like chareidim in the 1940s shreiking about the מעשה שטן which is bound to collapse. You know that back in the 50s the Reform and Conservative movements believed that Orthodoxy was dying out.
Israel will be fine and the Charedim will hop on board and get jobs. Those who believe in evolution know how communities adapt in order to sustain themselves. The charedim will be less scared as the country becomes more religious and theyll see the light just like the Chilonim realize that the charedim arent going anywhere. Itll take patience but itll happen.
To focus on what is truly important in your post:
You of all people should not be spreading the myth that lemmings jump to their death.
I also think that comparisons to rodents should be avoided; there is too much of that right now.
In summary, I think the comparison is unfair to both sides.
For someone claiming to be rational removing my post with factual evidence about the Charedi life expectancy isn't very reassuring.
This is not rational, it's Rational Judaism just as long as it's against tradition and doesn't acknowledge the existence of G-d.
Really got the Jeremiah complex, don't you? I've been seeing the same doomsday predictions for at least forty years. At least show some variety, and warn us again about the melting ice caps, the world population exposition, the high Arab birth rate, the coming ice age, and nuclear fallout.
"When a man ceases to believe in God, it isn't the case that ceases to believe in everything - rather, be begins to believe in anything." - Chesterton
Basically the Haredi economy (even in the US) largely runs on arbitrage. I.e. Buying goods and services from one place at one price and selling it for another. That's great when you can be the broker. But when you're a significant part of the population, who creates the actual things?
It's a real problem.
What makes someone charedi?
I think slif is charedi.