Thinking about Haredim in Israel

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This material was created by Makom for the Committee on the Unity of the Jewish People, of the Jewish Agency for Israel. 

As the number of Israelis seen to be Haredi grows, so it seems does lack of knowledge about the nature of Haredim in Israel. We would like to offer some materials aimed at adults, for English-speaking Jewish communities around the world to begin to address some of the presenting issues.

Here you will find

  1. A “plug and play” outline of a two-hour seminar you can run in your community.
  2. Suggestions for further exploration of issues emerging from this material.
  3. The “plug and play” seminar broken down into its modular parts, if you have less time on your hands.


Two Hour Seminar on Haredim – “Plug and Play”


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You will need:

  • Good speakers connected to the computer
  • Good internet connection
  • Screen
  • LCD computer projector
  • Print-outs of the poem

Baseline information (10 minutes)

After welcoming everyone, play the video “Background information on Haredim”


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For further exploration


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For articles, information, and educational programming, go to our the page we created following Makom’s Global Jewish Forum on Haredim in Israel.

For an exploration of the issue of women’s exclusion from elements of religious society in Israel, we start here from a cartoon, and go on from there…

Film and Video

Here is an astonishing short video of a Chassidic wedding:


Documentary: I’m Ultra-Orthodox, 2007

Haredi society in Israel traditionally positioned itself in contradistinction from the other part of the population – secular and modern orthodox. In recent years the ultra-orthodox community has grown to such an extent that joining the work force has become an acute and inevitable necessity, mainly for financial reasons. To Full Post

A short 10 minute trigger


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After welcoming everyone, play the video “Background information on Haredim”


In this short film you will find some information about the Haredi world. You might ask the participants to write down new facts they have learnt from the film, and perhaps to share a few issues they would want to learn more about.

Getting to know you better – 30 minute program


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This module aims to bring participants into an exploration of common ground with Haredim


Photo album

Screen the following photos, one after the other. (Copyright does not allow us to suggest printing them out). Allow each photo to stand for at least 60 seconds.

Ask the participants to write down one aspect of the photo with which they identify, and one aspect that they do not.

Quick sharing after each photo.


Young Hared at prayer

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Going 3D – Haredim in Israel – One hour


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Haredim in Israel is a 3D issue

You might recall the fable about the village that has never seen an elephant. They ask for a description from people who have only touched an elephant in the dark. One says an elephant is a tree-like stump, while another talks of a moving hose out of which warm air emerges, while another talks of a large flap of skin. The village is only able to gain a picture of an elephant if it somehow synthesizes all the different descriptions.

In some ways this is how we learn about Haredim. Different Israelis grab on to the issue from different angles, seeing some aspects clearly and others not at all. For us to gain a full picture, we need to cover all the different angles.

To switch metaphors, just as when watching a 3D movie we need special filter glasses, that both categorize colors and at the same time synthesize them, so we suggest that addressing Haredim in Israel requires certain lenses. We have identified five lenses, though there may well be more! Some Israelis see the Haredi issue through only one set of lenses, some through more than one, but it is rare to find someone who looks through all five…

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