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Nov 14, 2012

Haredi Womens School Teaching App Development

There is a Bais Yaakov seminary in Bnei Braq that is teaching the young women enrolled there to program. Not just computer programming, which is not so unusual in Bais Yaakov seminaries, but programming applications for smartphones.
(source: Israel Hayom)

Breaking the story was meant to be a major news item, perhaps even a scandal, considering how the haredi rabbonim/gedolim have banned and fought against the iPhone and other smartphones. How could a Bais Yaakov, a school directed by the same gedolim, dare to embrace, in a way, this banned technology? Is it perhaps a sign of the gedolim losing control? Is it a rebellion? Or maybe it is a sign that the gedolim are not really seriously against it any longer?

The revolution need not be shocking or extraordinary. Nor should it be viewed by anyone as problematic or hypocritical.

Women registering for this course are looking for tools that will get them into the workplace in good jobs. App programming is a major industry right now, and they want to learn it. The school should be commended for recognizing that they can offer such an option and actually offering it.

There are Bais Yaakov schools already offering courses in programming, while computers and Internet have been banned and vilified. There has been no easing of the restrictions on Internet just because schools have been teaching HTML. There is no reason they can't learn app programming despite the ban on smartphones.

Learning app programming does not mean that the haredi street will suddenly be flooded with smartphones (not any more than it already is). These women will program in their offices and then go home with their kosher phones. They will test their developments on the tablets and phones provided in the course, or at the workplace, and will then go home with their kosher phones. Just because they are programming at work, or in school, does not mean they need to take the tools home with them and adjust their lifestyles against the rules of the community.

this new course is a good move, not a rebellion.

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  1. It's a bit hypocritical, if smart phones are so bad then how can we allow these women to write apps for them?

    1. So there are no frum programmers?!

    2. Of course there are, what does that have to do with anything? App development is a specific sub-specialty of programming which requires a number of things:
      1. You need a device to test on (emulators and simulators can only get you so far), which means that these women will need access to smartphones
      2. The overwhelming majority of apps are connected (to the internet) and therefore require internet connectivity
      3. To successfully write a smartphone app you not only need to have the technical skills but you need to have familiarity with the latest trends in app development. The only way to do that is to actually download and use a lot of apps.


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