Israel drops science and math requirements for ultra-Orthodox schools

The stereotype of Jews is that they’re highly educated, but of course that doesn’t hold for the ultra-Orthodox, whose females often don’t go to college and whose males spend nearly all their time studying the Torah, neglecting any other subject.  It’s a waste of time and effort, but that’s religion, Jake.

Now Israel, to its shame, has enabled this neglect of education by approving the dropping of “core subjects” in Orthodox schools, allowing nearly full-time teaching of religion. These Orthodox can now remain blissfully ignorant of math and science (most of them already are creationists). As the Times of Israel reports:

Jewish studies are more important than learning mathematics and science, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday night.

Speaking in Caesarea at a conference of the TALI Education Fund, which provides a pluralistic Jewish Studies program for public schools, Bennett stressed the importance of Jewish education over secular subjects.

“Learning about Judaism and excellence in the subject is more important in my eyes than mathematics and the sciences,” said Bennett, “and it is hard for me to say that.”

The comments come months after controversy erupted over a government decision to drop its demand that ultra-Orthodox schools teach science, math and other core subjects in order to receive increased state funding.

Bennett had originally pushed against dropping the core subjects, but later bowed to coalition pressures.

“Even though [Israel] is a high-tech superpower, an exporter of knowledge and innovation to the world, we must [also] be a spiritual superpower and export spiritual knowledge to the world. This is the next chapter of our Zionist vision,” Bennett said. “In this way we will return to be a light to the nations. ‘For out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.’”

What a pile of malarkey! No, Israel doesn’t need to be a spiritual superpower, especially since many Jews there are like me: atheists that are Jewish by culture alone. And it’s not just math and science that will be neglected:

Last month the Knesset rolled back a law that aimed to promote broader education by reducing funding to schools that did not teach core subjects. Bennett had initially supported the law, which was submitted by the Yesh Atid party and would have cut funding for ultra-Orthodox schools that do not devote a minimum number of weekly hours to core secular subjects such as math, English, and science.

However, in their coalition agreements following the 2015 elections, the ultra-Orthodox parties demanded the curriculum law be dropped. Bennett’s Education Ministry was then instrumental in amending the law. Instead of requiring the Haredi schools to teach 10 to 11 hours per week of secular studies, as the Yesh Atid law stipulated, the new bill gives Bennett discretionary power in funding those institutions.

And so, we have an advanced democratic country creating a parasitic subclass of those who contribute nothing to their society or to human knowledge in general—unless you consider “shining the light of Zion on other nations.” But they don’t even do that, for the ultra-Orthodox are notoriously reclusive.


An ultra-Orthodox school, photo from RT, © Gil Cohen Magen / Reuters. Note the poor kids who are forced to wear long forelocks and yarmulkes. They have no chance to escape this indoctrination.

h/t: Barry



  1. Damien McLeod
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    How stupid can a Country get!?—Oh, wait, the United States is even stupider, isn’t it? Sorry Israel, my own country is still #1 in idiocy. If you don’t believe me, Mr. Trump and his sociopathic followers will soon prove it.

  2. busterggi
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Fundies – corrupting everywhere they can.

  3. Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Shining the light of Zion!? Sounds more like messianic judaism.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    No one understands mind control and brainwashing like religion. It is the best instrument they have to insure the nonsense lives on. I think they are better at it than even North Korea and the old Soviet Union. Get them while they are young and ripe for whatever you pound into them.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      In another blogdebate, someone used the term ‘brainforming’. Apparently, the word doesn’t exist, but perhaps you also like it in the same context, upbringing of children, who are defenceless?

    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink


    Sent from my iPad

  6. Alexander
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    An (ex)friend of mine said once that the 21st century will be the century of irrationality.

    And he (a convinced atheist) became the proof of the pudding by accepting money from the Templeton outfit.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Such is the struggle in Israel always fighting against the ever persistent religious extremists. In a way it’s a lot like the US.

  8. Nell Whiteside
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Poor little chaps – what a waste of potential!

  9. rickflick
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    These children are being condemned to play in a sand box for the rest of their lives. I’d call that a crime.

  10. Frank Bath
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Children being turned into misfits. ‘Religion poisons everything.’

    • Scote
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Can we just stop saying that? While I agree about the kids, religion does not poison **everything.** It poisons lot of things. But when you make an over the top *universal* claim it can be disproved by a *single* instance that contradicts it. While I can’t think of a lot of things that region hasn’t poisoned, I can say that I think religion has resulted in a lot of magnificent architecture that has lasted for centuries, and I can’t think of a case of how religion has “poisoned” architecture at all, let alone in the aggregate – the latter being the very least of which you would have to prove to persist in the claim that it poisons everything.

      • Alexander
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        It probably hasn’t poisoned architecture, but it has poisoned painting and literature. Just look at painting until the Renaissance, it’s quite miserable. The Renaissance liberated painting from religion.

        • Alexander
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          And it has poisoned the education of children until recently in Europe, probably a lot in the Muslim world and in other religious communities the world over.

      • mordacious1
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        It does poison everything. What architecture would we have from that period if it wasn’t constrained by the religious? Maybe some beautiful Gothic libraries instead, which would have been beautiful and useful too.

        • Curt Nelson
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          Right. An absence of religious motivation does not mean there would be an absence of motivation, just that the motivation would instead be reality based – and just as likely to be beautiful.

      • bluemaas
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. I was, Ms Scote, going to let this / your statement go on by.

        Then, I could not.

        And I shall not even be addressing all of the bagazillions of $ frittered away / squandered upon AND WITHIN such buildings of tangency devoted to mindlessness and superstition. Just upon the mental hurtfulness of such places.

        For myself, I cannot so I shall not, for a couple of decades’ time now, even enter such architectural structures which are places of poisoning minds and bodies. No ceremonies do I attend such as memorials or mawwiages or song fests or otherwise if, to do so, means for me my having to enter such wasteful and dangerous spaces.

        I am not, within their narrows, a victim of paedophile priestly muckups; but I am one … … of, inside such architectural joints, others’ acts of determined vengeances and pogroms. No, … … I am not going in there. Ever again.

        For me and I am not forgetting to give one muck for any of these structures’ ages – in – years (since the longer and older they stand, then onto other human beings is wrought the MORE destruction that these places have contributed to), .that. … … just being inside these sites … … would not only be wrong for my brain but also self – damaging to my physique. Poison.


        • Scote
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          “… … would not only be wrong for my brain but also self – damaging to my physique.”

          That comes off as more hyperbole to me. I’m not seeing how church architecture is damaging your **physique**, unless you’re tripping down the stairs.

          I’m in general agreement about religion, and I believe it poisons lots of things. But I really can’t abide by the universal claim that the poisons *everything.* I’m also not a fan of making claim s with that can be easily disproved by theists. If you want to have good arguments then I would say don’t make universal claims that can be easily contradicted.

          As to architecturee, I agree that the building of the church and church functions could be “poisonous” to the community. That’s really not the fault of the building itself. That’s not the architecture doing that. You don’t blame architecture for Nazism, I would hope. Nor can I blame it for religion. Or vice versa.

          When I visit Europe one of the first thing I do is visit the .agnificent churches. Usually the tallest, oldest and most magnificent buildings. And even though I’m not in favor of the church I can still recognize the architecture as beening remarkable.

          Now, as to the science standards in Israel, it is manifestly ridiculous to exempt religious groups from science standards. And in Israel it seems that there is a parasitic class that lives off of government, exempting itself known only from science standards but also from military service. This is an example of religion poisoning something, poisoning the culture so much that the government can’t criticize this parasitic group. Yet even as I say that, I’m hesitant to use the term “parasitic,” because it sounds all too racist period and reminds me too much of the way Republicans talk about the poor in the US. However, upon reflection, I think the difference is sufficient to justify calling the religious who want to spend a lifetime studying religion and doing nothing else parasitic to the society. But that’s a judgement call.

          • bluemaas
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            As re “architecture for Nazism,” the most violent film I have ever, ever viewed — and I wish I had not — because of not only its human being – characters but, as much, because of its so, so tangible – structure – characters = which were existent only because of humans’ thinkings and doings / comings and goings, is Son of Saul.

            People, now, including Dr Coyne, do visit these places. Are these structures on folks’ registries to visit, then, SPECIFICALLY because of their magnificent architecture ?


            • bluemaas
              Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

              As another elsewhere once recently stated, “It’s extremely painful working my way through” any structure which housed woo … … so as re “my physique,” why, all of the sleeplessness, the emeses and the headaches have ceased since I left off any of my attendance within such places.


          • Mark Sturtevant
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            There are certainly some things not poisoned by religion. But the phrase is simply a heartfelt but terse exclamation over how it has harmed a great number of things we should care about. Many worthy & catchy phrases are not meant to be over-analyzed. Let us all chill out together.

            • Scote
              Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              Defending something that you *know isn’t factually true* because it’s “heartfelt” strikes me as the kind of thing we, who support science, clear thinking and clear communication, should not only avoid but also denounce.

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

              It’s not convenient to say things like

              “Religion poisons almost everything.”


              “Religion poisons everything it touches.”

              If nothing else, it’s a heckuva lot easier to say

              “Religion poisons everything.”

              than it is to say

              “Religion poisons 99.999999999999999999999999% of everything.”

              It gets awfully hard to keep track of all those decimal places.

      • Curt Nelson
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re being too literal. It’s a statement that is mostly true, generally true – about a belief system that is not tethered to reality, and in fact rejects much of reality, and so, not surprisingly, screws up a lot of things. Most things.

        • nicky
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. That statement (from the Hitch, IIRC) shouldn’t be taken 100% literally, unlike the Bible or Qur’an.
          It poisons about everything it touches, a good approximation, I’d say.

  11. Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, the political reality in Israel mandates according the ultra-Orthodox a bigger say in government than they deserve. The country is splintered, and the ruling coaltion requires their participation. Democracy and parlimentary form have their plusses and minuses.

    I understand, however, that the majority of Israeli citizens, who are quite secular, truly resent and despise these fanatics many of whom refuse to fight in the IDF.

    Hopefully, future coalitions can be formed in the absence of these leaches.

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I type too slow, you beat me to it.

      • Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Haha, maybe, but you definitely added more meat to the bone in your comment.

    • colnago80
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      The religious parties were absent from the previous government and some progress was made in reducing the influence of the Haredim. Unfortunately, the current government is beholden to the religious parties and people like Bennett who should know better are quite willing to cater to them in order to be part of the current coalition running the country.

  12. mordacious1
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Meh. This is what happens when you have a parliamentary system. Netanyahu’s grasp on power is tentative at best and he needs the Haredi political party to keep his coalition in power. Last year, he overturned a 2014 law that would jail ultra-Orthodox Jews who dodged the draft. Now, these guys can sit in yeshiva and study the Torah, while other Israelis bleed in the defense of their nation. Every year, the Haredi will demand one more concession from Bibi and he’ll give in. It’s politics Jake.

    But the wheel of progress has already turned on these issues. Once the Likud Party is no longer in power, all of these agreements will disappear (unless the next ruling party needs the Haredi also). If this is such a big concern among Israelis, they could firm up the Likud so they didn’t have to make such deals with the devil, but that is unlikely to happen. Or they could vote Likud out, then it all goes away…replaced by violent protests.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Lord spare us religious fundamentalism of all stripe, the dark bane of Enlightenment values.

    I’m every bit the latitudinarian when it comes to how other parents raise their kids. This type of nonsense, however, borders on child abuse. I get queasy at the thought of any government intruding into the parent-child bond by prohibiting or punishing any manner of religious indoctrination. But no government ought be in the business of promoting or encouraging it.

  14. Emanuel Goldstein
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Look of Israel haters loose here.

    Nothing like a self hating Jew, Jerry.

    You loser…don’t you realize the world still wants to kill us?

    • Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I find this vastly amusing, as usually I’m accused of being a big fan of Israel and going too easy on the Jews. You, Mr Goldstein, refuse to admit that there’s any flaw in your favorite religion–that no Jews can do wrong. Sorry, but it’s just wrong for the ultra-Orthodox to narrow their children’s horizons by not letting them learn about the world. It’s an odious form of indoctrination.

      And your idea that Judaism should not be criticized lest it bring on the next pogrom is simply idiotic. Israel, you surely know, is full of people who criticize Israel, including many of its newspapers.

      You, sir, are the real loser, unable to see the flaws in a religion because you think the gas chambers are waiting around the bend. I’m perfectly aware of the rising tide of anti-Semitism, but we don’t do ourselves any good by circling the wagons and pretending that Judaism is perfect. In fact, I don’t believe a word of that religion; I’m a cultural Jew, not a “self hating Jew”. I sort of like myself, actually.

      So get thyself over to a religious website where you can find no criticism of Judaism. You are an uncivil person and your incivility is another indictment of your faith.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Emanuel has it backwards. I’ll put this cautiously – surely one of the motivating and facilitating factors in pogroms and antisemitism has been the existence of groups like these ultra-orthodox, who appear to think themselves superior to everyone else.

        I certainly can’t see a lot of Israel-haters on this site. Ultra-orthodox-haters, maybe.

        I tend to lean towards the Palestinian side (not looking to raise that debate here!) but one thing I can see in Israel’s favour – and why I can’t write Israel off – is that criticism and free speech seems to be alive and well in Israel.

        Admittedly at the moment the quirks of politics have given the religious a malign and quite unjustifiable influence in Israeli affairs, but this is the sort of thing that happens in all countries from time to time (Trump?), hopefully it will pass.


      • Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Looking at those cute little kids with the forelocks, I can’t help remembering the expression “a mind is a precious thing to waste.”

    • Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Are you actually Emmanuel Goldstein perhaps?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Pity to see a character, even a character who may himself be a fictional construct of the state within the world created by a work of fiction, who doesn’t even know how to spell his own name.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          And shouldn’t commenter “E.A. Blair” be weighing in on this usurpation?

          • E.A. Blair
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            Noted. And, speaking for my namesake*, I do concede that he is using the correct spelling of his actual given name, there is the possibility that he may be trying to avoid copyright infringement. However, I am personally inclined to attribute this to “Emanuel Goldstein” being either a careless reader.

            *Actually, the person from whom I shamelessly stole my nom de commenter, as I explained here. I went from commenting to guest blogging when I was invited to expand a comment to a guest post. Since the comment in question was posted under that name it made sense to keep using it. Now it’s more of a personal brand, and I hope that Mr. Orwell would find some humor in the situation.

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted September 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

              Sorry. I forgot to close the [italics] tag.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        I hope not! He could be watching us through our screens!

        • Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Duct tape can fix that.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, if Diana puts a strip of it over her eyes, maybe Big Brother won’t recognize her.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:46 am | Permalink


    • mordacious1
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Actually, it’s the ultra-Orthodox Jews who hate Israel (at least in its present form). Israel is a secular democracy and they wish it to be a theocracy.

      Being a very small population among oceans of muslims, Israel needs every man and woman to defend the nation. But they have this large group who will not serve (even many Druze volunteer for service). Which is okay, perhaps they can contribute in some other way. Nope. They refuse to even get educated so that they can perhaps add to the brain power that innovates and keeps the economy alive. Instead they’re parasites. They let others do the hard work while they mumble over their religious books. If the world wants to kill you, its best to arm yourselves…remember what happened last time.

      • Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        I agree that they’re basically parasites in the modern Israel. But you know, it’s probable fanatics like them who actually made possible the continued existence of Jews as an ethnic and religious groups during the two thousand years Jews were spread out. Because if secular or merely non-fanatical Jews might assimilate with their descendants no longer identifying as Jews, these zealots would not.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          So, would it matter in the slightest? If the Jews – and particularly the Jewish religion – had died out naturally by absorption. As, say, Druids and Celts and Zoroastrians and hundreds of others have done.

          Arguably, removing Zionism from the equation would have avoided a lot of problems. (As would Islam and Catholicism and … etc etc, obviously).

          Seen in that light, those fanatics have nothing going for them whatsoever.


          • Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:29 am | Permalink

            Are you saying Jews SHOULD have assimilated and dissolved into other cultures as Druids and Celts have done?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:42 am | Permalink

              Yes. Would have saved a lot of trouble all round.

              And – from the point of all the individuals concerned, which is surely all that matters – if done gradually over time it would be a painless process.


              • HaggisForBrains
                Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:48 am | Permalink

                Good point – makes sense to me.

  15. Mark R.
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    That photo makes me sad. “The hand that rocks the cradle…”

  16. Flemur
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Their genetic fitness is quite good:

    ‘As against the overall average of 1.86 children per Jewish woman, an informed estimate gives figures ranging upward from 3.3 children in “modern Orthodox” families to 6.6 in Haredi or “ultra-Orthodox” families to a whopping 7.9 in families of Hasidim.’

    • Flemur
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      …further confirming my theory that liberalism and, even more so, atheism are maladaptive or correlate with something else that’s maladaptive.

      Everyone probably knows this:
      Liberals have fewer children than conservatives.

      But perhaps not this:
      Athiests and agnostics have fewer children than others.

      FWIW, I’m not a liberal but have always been an atheist.

      • Shwell Thanksh
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        A perverse definition of maladaptive indeed; one that uses quantity as its sole measure.

        What would the child mortality rate be of a subculture that refuses to allow its women to learn nursing or medicine in the absence of a larger beneficent neighboring culture that does?

        • Flemur
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          A perverse definition of maladaptive indeed; one that uses quantity as its sole measure.

          That’s the definition or genetic fitness.
          Hence maladaptive.

          Differences in political viewpoints and tendency to religiousness are at least partially genetic, perhaps mostly.

          When it comes to evolution and biology, humans are just another species; a characteristic that lowers reproduction to below the replacement rate will lead to extinction.

          “Why would people ever choose to limit their reproduction voluntarily…, or is it simply a maladaptive outcome of novel and environmental social conditions?

          Empirical analyses and new models suggest that reproductive decision making might be driven by a human psychology designed by natural selection to maximize material wealth. If this is the case, the mechanisms governing fertility and parental investment are likely to respond to modern conditions with a fertility level much lower than that that would maximize fitness.”

          What would the child mortality rate be of a subculture that refuses to allow its women to learn nursing or medicine in the absence of a larger beneficent neighboring culture that does?

          It probably wouldn’t be large enough to make the orthodox reproduce at less than the replacement rate.

          A more interesting question is: what happens when the larger beneficent (and self-destructive) culture eventually disappears?

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Is mere reproductive output the best measure of genetic fitness? Maybe there was a time when our success as a species meant being human tribbles, but I personally think we’ve gotten past that, to a point where we have to self-moderate our biological success. The biologists among us may be able to hold forth on this in more scientific terms, but if we are interested in the overall survival and well-being of modern humanity it is not in our best interests to proliferate ourselves into extinction via unsustainable growth.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        ‘human tribbles’ – I’m stealing that!

        And well said on the insanity of unlimited reproduction.


        • Flemur
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          we have to self-moderate our biological success.

          Tell that to the people who don’t know or don’t care. How do you propose to get them to comply with your wishes, and become part of your “we”?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:20 am | Permalink

            China had a pretty good try at it.


  17. E.A. Blair
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    spiritual knowledge

    Now there’s an oxymorion if I ever saw one.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Oops! I meant to type “oxymoron”, although maybe an oxymorion is something that protects ignorance from being knocked out of one’s head.

      • Lars
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful inadvertent pun. Nice catch, too.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        I learned a new word there. (Morion).

        Now there’s a little bit of genuine knowledge.


  18. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    This is really upsetting.
    Even the most god walloping home-schooling Christian family in the U.S. will teach their children about math and (carefully selected) science. Even the strictly religious schools that teach line and verse from the Koran in the heart of Taliban-controlled Pakistan will teach boys much the same thing.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a problem I once saw in an ACE (Accelerated Christian Education, a homeschooling curriculum company) textbook intended for, I think, fourth graders:

      “Jesus has five loaves and two fish. How many times must he multiply each loaf and each fish to feed two thousand people?”

      Yeah, that’s a much-needed real world application of math.

      • Scote
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        “Jesus has five loaves and two fish. How many times must he multiply each loaf and each fish to feed two thousand people?”

        None! Jesus kills them all in a flood. Mysterious ways…

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Unless it specifies how many loaves and how many fish each person needs, the question is unanswerable anyway.


  19. pam
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    (Apologies to Andrew Bird) “How ya’ gonna keep em locked in the faith, after they’ve stretched their minds?”

  20. Kevin
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the hair styles will get them gainful employment somewhere. There ‘lack’ of science knowledge will obviously not be the path forward.

  21. nicky
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I hope that when they grow up and realise they are’unemployable’, they will sue the hell out of these schools.

  22. Tom
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Hilarious, a cartoon version of what they imagine ancient Israel/Judea believed.
    Strange how fantasy has replaced the real, recorded, history and culture of Israel/Judea and been replaced by the pipe dreams of the diaspora.

  23. Linn
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    They’re going to export spiritual knowledge, really? Newsflash, not a single country in the world will be willing to give away resources in exchange for “spiritual knowledge”.

    And I suppose when the kids in these schools are unable to get even a basic job in a grocery store because they lack the math knowledge necessary, they should comfort themselves by thinking of the spiritual knowledge they possess.

  24. Orli Peter
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’m visiting Israel now and spoke to two separate government officials about this, and was told something that math and science was not “dropped” from the curriculum for the ultra-orthodox, it was reduced to it’s prior requirement of six hours per week. Recently, the requirement was increased to 10 hours per week, to match the non-orthodox schools, but this new agreement allows the ultra-orthodox to revert back to six hours per week. Apparently, the ultra religious leaders are fearful that they are losing control of the ultra orthodox who are leaving the fold and going into the secular work force due to a number of private colleges that are training them with real world skills. Their numbers have been surging in secular professions, because the younger generation realized they were doomed to a life of poverty unless they learned relevant skills. I was told their numbers have quadrupled in the Israeli work force as a result, and their ultra-orthodox leaders are pushing back, scared they are losing control of the youth. So in a way, this push back is part of a response to a positive trend.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for providing this relevant information. Not surprisingly, there’s more to this story than what was related in the article. For that matter, the article should have included this simple fact of ’10 hours back to the previous 6 hours’.
      Also, very interesting about the movement of some Haredim in pursuing education for entering the general work force

    • rickflick
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Hmmmm…sounds like the Times of Israel needs to retract. Well, that’s certainly not GOOD news, but certainly better than it sounded.

  25. Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    I must have missed a major cultural milestone somehow.

    What is the origin of the phrase, “That’s [something], Jake”?


  26. Posted September 19, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    A cultural (religious) question: I thought one has to have been through bar mitzvah (or be of the relevant age and a non-Jew, in some contexts – like the Conservative wedding I attended) to wear a yarmulke?

  27. Posted September 23, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I stand with Israel!

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