Thursday, December 19, 2013

Earners and Learners

I had a fascinating meeting with some of my colleagues recently who are dealing with issues of Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) employment in Israel. I knew we were going to have an interesting meeting when one of my colleagues, who herself comes from the Haredi world, framed the entire conversation in one sentence. “Haredi women,” she said, “are a society of earners. Haredi men are a society of learners.”

What’s important to note here, though, is that Ultra-Orthodox society isn’t black-and-white. It’s not monolithic, there’s a huge variety of cultures within. “Haredi” is more of a self-definition … but there are some common themes in all Haredi society:
·        -  Torah is in the center of life
·         - You get married early
·         - Women mostly go to education for employment (95%), so therefore it’s a very crowded and underpaying sector.

What we need to do is find ways to respect the Haredi way of life, while developing menus of services that are culturally sensitive and appropriate … to help the learners also become earners, and help the earners move from dependence to independence.

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