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Friday, October 07, 2016 

It may be happeing slowly, but Haredi society is changing

Berel Wein says that the Haredi community is changing for the better by taking more inclusive roles in society:
One of the major societal shifts here in Israel is changing attitudes and behavior of the haredi community towards taking a more inclusive role in Israeli society. On the surface, and certainly in the statements of the haredi political and rabbinic leadership, no such change is really noticeable. Every attempt to reform or change the educational structure and curriculum of its school systems is met with fierce opposition, and just recently the new law mandating the teaching of a core curriculum of English, math, science, history and language in the haredi school systems was repealed as part of the coalition government agreement of which the haredim are a core component.

Yet, beneath the surface things are certainly changing in that community. Though the number is relatively still quite small, more and more haredim are entering the Israel Defense Forces by various means and special units. The fierce opposition reflected in extreme social ostracism of those who join the IDF is paradoxically a sign that more and more young haredim are considering army service and having the subsequent ability to work legally as a realistic option. The success of the Nachal haredi program that has integrated thousands of young men into the army, as well as looking out for their welfare after army service, is now a well-established fact in Israeli society.

The fact that this type of army service, which has been highly successful in the eyes of the army itself, has not impinged on the religious observance of those involved in this program has not been lost on many of the youth in haredi society. The number of battalions involved in the Nachal haredi program continues to increase and there are now more options than ever present regarding the type of army service available to haredi youth. This is affecting a slow, unpublicized and even surreptitious change in the haredi community.
It's good to know there's Haredis who realize that army service doesn't mean you can't study Torah and stuff like that. They too have classes for learning these subjects, just like for science and math. In which case, there's hope that they'll come about to learn the importance of following the Torah's support for working and self-support just as much as studying the scrolls themselves.

What can I say? This is good news.

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