Saturday, September 26, 2009

On the Chareidi World- Men “Learning” as opposed to “working”

Often I hear rather seething comments from the more modern (Jewish) blogs about the chareidim (ultra-orthodox)not working, being leeches, etc. I would like to weigh in here with several thoughts. I have given these points a lot of thought, as I have all different types of viewpoints among my children.
The problem with all men "learning" as opposed to working (although many DO work today) is probably one in transition. Originally an answer to the near-erasure of the Torah world in the holocaust, society pressure has pressured everyone to "Learn". Slowly, however, we are seeing more people working at least part time.

However, as a nation, we DO need good learners, real Torah scholars, to deal with Halacic (Toarah law) problems, and continue to enrich our national heritage. These top-notch scholars, who study hours longer than any normal job, and who are part of our national culture, should be supported by the community at large, just as we support academics in every field.And they should be supported enough that they are above the poverty line.

I personally would like to see:
-more good job opportunities for the chareidim and more APPROPRIATE educational settings to attain needed skills. (When the city hall here offers the SAME vocational courses year after year, I wonder if they think that our city really needs (and can sustain) that many photographers and reflexoligists.....

-Since there ARE men who will want to learn even though they are not the best, I would like to see the girls seminaries offer more types of training. We are overloaded with teachers, and it is simply not a way to support a family. Let women who want to support a husband Torah student earn a decent living. Why should she be forced for lack of better options, to choose a field with minimum pay? And if this means starting to study for Israeli matriculation exams, let us have a kosher program to do this.

Until we do this, I feel that we will simply lose more and more youth from our community, as youngsters who do not want to live in poverty opt out of the current system. And THAT is a shame, that does not have to be.


mother in israel said...

In the religious Zionist community, I also wonder about all the alternative medicine courses that are offered.

RivkA with a capital A said...

I think your criticism is misdirected. Job opportunities are limited because of Hareidi education, which rejects preparing for and taking the Bagruyot.

Secular and National religious high school graduates who do not complete the Bagruyot have to pay for those courses and those exams themselves, if they want to study for a decent career.

Why should Hareidi society get all that for free because they reject studying for Bagruyot in high school?

It is Hareidi society which has rejected secular studies, which would lead to more lucrative careers. Until that changes, it is a mistake to criticize the city/state for not providing that education.

rickismom said...

RivkA, that is basically what I am saying.I feel that some program should be available for boys from frum families who want to study for bagrut. My son, who today is not religious at all, wanted during his high school years to study bagrut. The city hall only had a "chiloni" program, poorly funded. And there was no alternatives for learning even, say, English. If there would be yeshivas for boys who want to work, with a frum environment, regular yeshiva and halacha (including business halacha) in the morning, with math and English in the afternoons, I am sure that a lot of boys would join in, and stay frum. Then they could finish further later, if they desired. But at least they would be frum, and have some of the needed studies done.

Batya said...

rm, Your son would have found more opportunities in other cities for religious kids who want to study Torah plus, or bagrut plus much else in a religious framework.

This concept of "full-time learning" is very new and a result of post WWII affluence, German War reparations. Our gedolim worked.

The Torah says: "For six days you work, then you rest, Shabbat..."

Please don't get upset at my last line:
The isolation/separation of Torah and work/real life isn't Jewish.

rickismom said...

Muse, Many gedolim worked, those who did not need to (ie, their spouse or her parents supported them)often didn't. Today we still need top-notch Torah scholars and this is really possible only if top-notch scholars are provided for.
However, I do feel that we have to stop looking down on those who work, whether it is full, or part time.

Maybe if we knew more, payed on our own, but we were looking for a "chareidi" placement (because that was what he was then), with as SOME serious secular studies (as English), and were told that there was nothing but bookbinding, and at a later time, silversmith.
Recently they did open something, but I feel that it is too little. (And, for my sons, too late....)

Anonymous said...

Two points:

1) The army is a major limiting factor in charedim working. The army exemption is only for as long as they are "learning" so they can't get a real job without becoming subject to the draft.

2) "Maarava" was started as a place where charedi boys could do bagrut in a yeshiva atmosphere with yeshiva Torah studies.

RivkA with a capital A said...

There are certainly programs in the religious zionist world that combine serious yeshiva learning with bagruyot.

The acceptance/rejection of the "secular world" is really what distinguishes the modern orthodox from the hareidi. I am not certain you can make the changes you want and still stay "hareidi" -- i.e. separate and protected from the outside world.

This is a much longer discussion... when R U coming to Jerusalem???