The Ideology of Full-Time Religious Study by Married Men in Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
Ariel University Center
December 7, 2011
In Israel, 70,000 Ultra-Orthodox men are enrolled in yeshivas (Talmudic academies) for married men, known as kollelim (singular: kollel). It is well known that this phenomenon is associated with indefinite deferment of military service, nonwork and poverty. This paper explores the ideological basis for the kollel movement, using the writings of leading Ultra-Orthodox sages from the three sectors that make up Ultra-Orthodoxy -- Lithuanian, Chassidic and Sephardic. The main conclusions are as follows: a. The ideology of the kollel movement generates conflicting messages with regard to selectivity and academic standards. Some of the rationales offered in support of kollel study imply selective admissions and high academic standards, while other rationales imply open admissions and low academic standards. b. The Lithuanian, Chassidic and Sephardic sectors all idealize kollel study, but differ significantly with regard to the mission and orientation of the kollel. These differences include the expected term of study, attitude towards rabbinic ordination, and attitude towards outreach.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
JEL Classification: Z12, J22working papers series
Date posted: December 8, 2011
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