Monday, September 01, 2008

Solutions for poverty in the Charedi world

Jonathan Rosenblum wrote an article in last week's Mishpacha magazine (Can we talk seriously about poverty?) where he describes the poverty in the Charedi world and the toll that crushing poverty takes on individual lives and Charedi society as a whole. He mentions 3 possible solutions to the problem:

THREE SOLUTIONS ARE commonly offered to the destructive poverty in the Israeli chareidi community (though the problem is hardly limited to Israel): greater government support; increased contributions from rich Jews abroad; and adopting a simpler lifestyle. Each is a thin reed upon which to pin hopes for a solution.

Amazingly enough he leaves out the only real solution, education and working for a living. Why has working for a living become verboten? What happened to the Gemara in Kiddushin of חייב אדם ללמד את בנו אומנות? What happened to the Mishnayos in Pirkei Avos? The answer is so obvious and yet he brings up solutions that are bandaids.


Anonymous said...

i think alot depends on future demographics in israel at least. If charedim will continue their growth rates and drop out rates stay the same, then within fifty years they will make up most of israelis - so there will not be enough secular jews to feed then. But if drop out rates increase and their numbers stabilize compared with secular jews, then they can use their political power to feed of the non religious forever. Other scenarious are also possible depending on demographics. As far as using rich jews from abroad - it seems to me as the best bet. I am under impression that shnorres make pretty good money, but it will only work if there are more workers than them. But most importantly i remember reading interview from rabbi steinman where he basicky said that it is good for charedim to remain in poverty, since talmidei chachamim come from poor. it seems to me that gedolim realy want charedim to remain in deep poverty to keep them frum. This method might work even though we know it failed in europe. But if leaders want people to be poor than there is no hope at all, unless people stop listening to them but that is another discussion.

Orthonomics said...

Pondering-I think door to door collectors will find things are tighter. The economy is tighter and expenses are up, up, up.

All three "solutions" are failed solutions. Time to start educating for the marketplace, inculcating work ethic, etc.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

RYR did not suggest working as a solution, although I'm sure it occured to him, because:

a) for the last 50 years the chareidim have created this myth that with the magic power of "daas Torah" their leaders never make the wrong decisions.
b) These leaders decided that working is forbidden and only Torah can be learned. Not only that but they created a revised history that claims that this is, in fact, how Orthodox Jews have always been.

Were they to now turn around and permit working, how would they explain this inconsistency?

Anonymous said...

Sephardilady -
I personally disagree with haredi system, but my main point was that - these "band aids" as bluke called them - can work for long time. Obviously when economy is tight, shnorrers will receive less money, but they will still get some stuff.
I just want working people to understand that the charedi methods are far from best, but are still effective. I do not remember where it is, but Rav Kook once wrote why people go off the derech - and one of the reasons he mentioned was that the Old Yishuv was sitting and getting money from chilonim and not making their own money. He wrote these words about ninety years ago - and look charedim are still sitting and getting money from chilonim. In buddhism all monks completely depend on alms compltetely - they can only own like five things and like in burma they compose 15% percent of people are monks. See there you go - 15% of country completely supported by charity from others. And this system is very very old.
Garnel - I did not mention your points since it only applies to yeshivish circles, Chasidim never had this derech, but they still make very little money.

bluke said...

The question is are they really effective? According to JR they are creating a lot of problems. A major difference between 2008 and 1908 when R' Kook lived is the fact that society is so much more affluent and this has filtered down to the Charedi world as well. Who doesn't have air conditioning today? A cell phone (albeit "kosher")? It is much harder to live a simple life today then it was back then.