Jun 25, 2019

avreichim stay in yeshiva long-term because they want to

I learned something new today.

According to Calcalist, avreichim get a full exemption form the army when they hit 25. They only need the yeshiva bochur deferment until they hit the age of 25. So, base don what we have always thought, that avreichim don't join the workforce because of their situation with the army preventing them from doing so, is not relevant after 25. So far so good.

The new fact is that only 22% of avreichim over the age of 25 leave kollel and join the workforce. 78% of avreichim stay in yeshiva long term, not because they are stuck there because of the army or in order to avoid the army, but because they choose to be there.

Since the national debate over shivyon bnetel, sharing the burden of equal army service, seems to mostly accept, and therefore allow, yeshiva bochurim to learn for at least a few years before they might be required to serve in the army under any plan that might be accepted into law, it seems that this age 25 cutoff for avreichim is probably the most important barometer.

It seems likely that lowering or raising the cutoff age will do little to help, or hurt, anyone. Unless you think that after 25 they are not leaving kollel because at that point they feel stuck with no other realistic options, they are not leaving because they, for the most part, don't want to. They likely wont leave at a younger age either.

If you think they should be encouraged to leave, then you can come up with other programs to try to change the balance, to increase the 22% leaving to join the workforce, but that is already trying to manipulate someone's chosen lifestyle. The debate has always been about pulling out the issue that prevents them from doing what they want, but these numbers indicate they mostly are doing what they want.

The one thing missing that I would like to know from this is if after 25 only 22% leave the yeshiva world - that is between 25 and what age? Is it as soon as they hit 25? Maybe when they hit 28 or 30 or 35 more leave? 25 is still reasonably young enough to go out, join a program to learn a profession or trade and start working, yet they are largely choosing not to. If they are leaving but only at 30 or 35, that would be very different, as starting to learn a profession at that age is already far more difficult.

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  1. As a group, Charedim should be encouraged to give back to others. Whether that's serving in the army, or doing National Service, they could be contributing in a positive way. If they won't do it because it's the morally-correct option, tie to economics. Charedim understand money, even if they don't understand Torah.

    1. They do contribute. It's called limud Torah.

    2. What, exactly, does that contribute?

  2. As of a few years ago, the age is 24, not 25.
    When someone in yeshiva with a learning torah exemption turns 24, he is normally sent a petur from the army by mail.

  3. The livin' is easy. What's so hard?


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