Dec 6, 2012

Quote of the Day

Did you know there isn't a single Haredi doctor in Israel... not a single one. Why? Because if you dont learn mathematics and physics you don't have matriculation exams and you don't learn English, you cannot study medicine.

  -- financial journalist Nehemia Strahsler

This idiotic statement by Strahsler has upset many haredim.

Actually, I think, the first part of his statement and the second are not really connected, and that was Strahsler's mistake. The first part is not true, in any shape or form. There are plenty of haredi doctors - walk into any hospital in the Jerusalem area and you will see a significant number of haredi doctors. Walk into any of the many medical clinics in religious neighborhoods, and you will see a significant number of haredi doctors. In other locations as well, such as in the hospitals in Bnei Braq and Netanya as well as in other places, you will surely see haredi doctors, but that is probably where the highest concentration is.

The second part of what Strahsler said has some truth to it. If the education system does not educate in secular studies and if the society discourages higher learning in secular studies, they will not produce doctors. How could they without providing or encouraging the education? Even this is not accurate, as there are always exceptions to the general rule, exceptions even in significant numbers. There are plenty of haredi families who send a child to a school that provides secular education, and they personally, for whatever reason, may encourage higher studies despite what the general society normally does or does not do. But as a general rule, Israeli haredi society does not produce all that many doctors.

That does not mean there are not any such doctors, as many doctors have made aliyah from western countries such as the USA, the UK, France and others, and they live haredi lives in Israel and work as doctors. Many other haredi doctors are baalei tshuva - they too are haredi doctors. So, while his first statement is clearly wrong, his second statement has some truth.

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  1. There are plenty of haredi doctors

    Rafi - What is your definition of "haredi"? How do you think a typical insulated haredi from Meah Shearim, Bnei Brak, etc. would define "haredi"?

    Those are two separate questions and I'll bet there are two separate answers.

  2. for sure, but I will bet Strahsler's definition is closer to mine than to that of the insulated haredi from mea Shearim.

    As well, I dont think he meant to say there are no doctors coming out of Mea Shearim, considering only them to be haredi.

    I know a number of haredi doctors who are haredi by any standard

  3. Surely the logic involved here is the "No True Scotsman fallacy":
    1. No Haredi would ever be a doctor.
    2. But I know Haredi doctors!
    3. They're not really Haredi then.

  4. I would be very interested to know if there are any doctors who grew up in the Israeli Haredi community who are still religious.

  5. He is right and he is wrong. He is right that a born and bred Haredi will never become a doctor because of their educational deficiencies. He is wrong because there are quite a number of Haredi doctors born and educated outside of Israel as well as Baalei Teshuva.

    1. I meant born and bred in Israel, e.g. went through the Israeli Charedi educational system.

  6. He is right. His point is that the Israeli chareidi system will not produce (males) capable of being doctors. While he did not phrase it the best way (he should have said "there are no doctors educated as chareidim in Israel) that does not detract from the essential truth of his claim.

  7. Anon at 5:02 pm - the answer is 'yes, certainly'. I have known several over the years; mostly students of Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach. I immediately thought of Rav Dr. Mordechai Halperin, MD when I saw your comment. I admit he is a little exceptional; but not entirely.

  8. We once went to Bnei Brak to meet my wife's cousin. My MIL was visiting. The family is Vishnitz.

    The wife was telling us how she worked for Kupat Ha iir.

    Then MIL turned to the husband, and asked him what he did for a living. I was ready to fall through the floor expecting him to tell us about his Kollel.

    He responded that he was a Math Professor at Bar Illan.

    As much as we often paint Haraedim with a single brush, there are a lot of people who fall under the Charedi camp that are 100% conformed to the mold.


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