Mar 11, 2010

Shimon Peres on the Haredi workforce potential

Shimon Peres toured Bnei Braq yesterday. He visited Ponevezsh Yeshiva, he met with Rav Shteinman, and he visited one of the hi-tech office centers for haredi women.

At the offices of IROX, Shimon Peres spoke and said. "I would say half-jokingly, and if I truly had the ability, that all Jews should honor the Shabbos, and that they should only work 6 days of the week, as the Torah commands."

Gentlemen - heed your president!

In addition, Peres said that the secular need to make their offices and workplaces more appropriate for the Haredim, by having separation between men and women and setting time available for davening. Peres went on to praise the religious saying many not religious go to the gym, the yeshiva is a spiritual fitness center. You teach your brain to think and deal with challenges.

Peres is very encouraging of people going out of their way to hire haredim. I don't know that the reason haredim aren't looking for work (I know plenty who are, so I don't know where this whole issue comes from) is because the office is not "mehadrin", but Peres thinks that if managers would redesign their office and arrangements, there would be a sudden surge in applications from the haredi community.

I don't think he is right about that, but it remains to be seen. Perhaps offices for men only can be opened similar to the offices that hire only haredi women. From my experience, these offices are used simply as career starters. The women start off thinking they can't get a job in the outside world, and it is not appropriate. After they work in one of these centers for, usually, about 2 years (sometimes less), they realize they are being paid far less than what they could be making "on the outside", and then they look for jobs in the regular workforce. From my experience I have been mostly impressed with the women who did this - the women I knew and worked with were all high level quality programmers or whatever else they were doing.

There are probably some women who stay in these environments - some for retaining the belief that the haredi woman should not be in a regular office environment with non-religious people, with men, etc, others because the hours work out for them as they need to be able to be home for the kids, others because it is close to home, or for other reasons. But I have found that generally, after about 2 years, they try to move on.

So, I think, these haredi workplaces are good starting points, but people eventually realize that such arrangements are really holding them back and they want more once they realize they can have it. And once they realize that, they mostly forgo their mehadrin requirements.


  1. Actually from what I've heard the single women stay in those mehadrin environments but after they get married it's more "kosher" to subject themselves to a mixed work environment. My suspicion is that the singles stay in the mehadrin environment because (a) it's better for shidduchim and the marrieds seek the general work opportunities because (b) a higher salary is more important now that they're on their own.

  2. "I would say half-jokingly, and if I truly had the ability, that all Jews should honor the Shabbos, and that they should only work 6 days of the week, as the Torah commands."

  3. May ALL the Heroes of Irgun be blessedMarch 14, 2010 2:22 AM

    Moshe Sharett warned us what would happen if this man would arise to power in israeli politics... Dark days for bnay Yisrael... we have endured his major damage, we live on, but we do not forget the Oslo Shoah..... His lies and religious pretensions mean nothing.

    Granted he has a point that haredim should join the work force. And that is really what he was trying to stick to them, the other comments were window dressing. That is why he stressed in his comment about Shabbat that we were commanded to work 6 days - He thought that would come off as a hiddush of epic proportions and he wanted it driven home - his Shabbat lie was a means to an end. To tell haredim to work 6 days.


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