What Will They Do About It?
In only three days, the previous guest post by Marty Bluke, about the financial collapse of charedi society in Israel as described in Mishpacha magazine, has become the all-time most read post on this blog, with over seven thousand hits. This week, Mishpacha published three letters in response, all of which agreed with the account of the problem. Bluke translated one of the letters:
It was hard and painful to read the article by R' Kapler about married children who are dependent on their parents. However, how interesting it is that the parents are giving their children a personal example [of being dependent on their parents].
We can say this, the children did not invent this, they saw their parents doing it. You [parents] who are now complaining did (and some are still doing) the same exact thing! Your parents, holocaust survivors, could not bear to see their children lack from anything, and therefore gave (and are still giving) to you everything they had. The generation of holocaust survivors worked like mules, some in physically and spiritually crushing work, and along with the reparations they received from Germany married off their children, bought them apartments, helped them move to bigger apartments, etc. giving whatever they could and sometimes even more.
The second generation worked much less, most learned in kollel (some are still learning in kollel) and live off government and kollel stipends, and help from their parents. So when they came to marry off their children they found themselves in a hopeless situation and took their children and threw them into the turbulent waters. The children who were used to their grandparents being the source of all good, are coming back to take. Sometimes the tray of chickens that they take from the freezer are the only chicken the grandchildren will see that week... because when there isn't any, there isn't any.
Parents, it is your fault! If you don't provide your children with the tools to make a living and you provide an example of living off the taxpayer, you can only blame yourselves.
Bluke concludes as follows:
The fact that Mishpacha published three letters in favour of the article (these are the only letters published) says a lot about what is going in the Charedi community. At least some people seem to understand that there is a real issue here, the question is, what will the leadership do about it?
A campaign poster for UTJ, describing
how they will oppose efforts to enforce
the study of mathematics in schools
It's difficult to talk about the "leadership", because it's not clear who the leadership of the charedi community in Israel actually is. Is it the Gedolim, the politicians, or the askanim? But the answer to the question of what the charedi community in general will do about this enormous, overwhelming, catastrophic, and ever-worsening problem is this: they will try their best to make it even worse.
In the forthcoming national elections in Israel, the charedi community will, for the most part, be voting for the charedi political parties. The overriding goal of these parties is to obtain as much money as possible for people in kollel, and to oppose efforts to give charedim the educational tools and incentives that they need in order to integrate them into the workforce. This will temporarily alleviate the catastrophe described in Mishpacha - but when the money runs out, as it eventually must, and the charedi population has meanwhile grown all the more, the catastrophe will be all the greater. The charedim are their own worst enemy.