So What's The Plan?
The Problem: The economic catastrophe in the charedi world. The trickle of charedim in vocational training programs does not outnumber those who take the kollel path.
The Cause: A new way of life in which men are given no secular education and are taught not to work, while women have large families and are not allowed to go to college.
The Forecast: Since charedim have large families, the economic catastrophe will get ever worse, and will eventually threaten the rest of the country.
The Plan: So what's the plan? How does charedi leadership plan to address this ever-worsening problem? Last week, I was involved in an extensive discussion about this question with a prominent figure in the charedi world. He confessed to not actually knowing what the plan is. This was very disturbing to me - you'd think that with such a huge, obvious problem, the plan would be known. But he offered three speculations:
1) When the situation gets really bad, the Gedolim will change social policy.
The problem with this is that the situation is already really bad, and yet Rav Steinman is continuing to insist that no secular education is permitted. Plus, you can't send people to the workforce overnight, it takes many years to change things.
2) Maybe there will be increased government/foreign aid.
The problem with this is that even if does happen, that just means that a few years later, when the money eventually runs out, the catastrophe will be even worse. It's simple math - when charedi society has six to ten children per family, there is no way that government or foreign aid can keep up.
3) Maybe Moshiach will come.
I was really taken aback by this one. That's a strategy?! What happened to it being forbidden to rely on miracles? He responded that if the Gedolim tell us to rely on miracles, we should do so.
How can it be that they are creating this terrible catastrophe, which is continually getting worse, and they have no viable plan?