Haredim, The Army and Work

The Jerusalem Post quotes IDT founder Howard Jonas in an article on the Nahal Haredi army unit:

…Jonas terms himself modern Orthodox and believes in helping members of the haredi community integrate into society via the workforce. About 20% of his employees in the US are haredi. In Israel, the proportion is even higher.

"For year we were coming here to Israel and seeing how bad the poverty among the haredim is. Of course I can give charity, and we give $15 million every year, but there’s no end to poverty. Giving people jobs is a much better way of dealing with it," he said.

"To encourage ultra-Orthodox men and women to work, IDT provides them with the kind of environment they need, including time off for prayers and a strictly kosher canteen."

"I just think it’s morally not right to live here and not serve in the army," he said. "So many of them just sit around not getting any success in life, and it goes with them ever after. Instead, those who join the army get a sense of direction in life, self-esteem and a job afterward. It changes their whole life."…

Jonas is aware that much of what he is doing is highly controversial within the haredi leadership. He says, though, that he has not heard many objections.

"We are also big contributors to the Yeshiva world and I believe that the rabbis realize that what we’re doing works well for people and improves their lives. They just look the other way," he said.

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4 Comments

Filed under Haredim, Israel

4 responses to “Haredim, The Army and Work

  1. shmuel

    Mr. Jonas hits it right when he explains why he’s not getting too much grief from Litvish charedim: he’s keeping their yeshivas afloat. $15 million a year? That buys a lot of silence, you can be sure. King Solomon was right: “money answers everything.” Now you know why he was the wisest man ever.

  2. YUGUY

    Howard Jonas is definitely right. He is offering these people something that they can get nowhere else, a job offer in a large corporation. When I worked in IDT it was amazing to see a huge bais medrash in the middle of an office building, and there are people that learn all day. I don’t have much (or any) other work experience, but I doubt that it will be as easy to be fully observant in any other business I can possibly work in. Although he may not be the most religious man, Howard Jonas in an exemplary Baal chesed, and hopefully these people will pick their asses off of kollel benches to sit behind a desk and make enough money to raise their children in an environment fitting someone required to live in the confines of Kedoshim Te’hiyu.

  3. Anonymous

    “”””money answers everything””””
    AKA: Money talks, everything else walks

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