Five-and-a-Half Myths about Ultra-Orthodox Jews

They’re not anti-Zionist. They’re not right-wing extremists. They’re not even against birth control.

Haredi Jews at a demonstration in Jerusalem on March 2, 2014. Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images.

Haredi Jews at a demonstration in Jerusalem on March 2, 2014. Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images.

Response
Dec. 15 2014
About the author

Yehoshua Pfeffer, a rabbi and rabbinical judge, holds a law degree from the Hebrew University and clerked at the Israel Supreme Court. He has taught at a number of yeshivas, published widely on Jewish law and thought, and is currently directing programs for the haredi community in Israel for the Tikvah Fund.


Aharon Ariel Lavi’s essay, “Are the Ultra-Orthodox the Key to Israel’s Future?” is a welcome contribution to what has become a crowded field. Indeed, the ultra-Orthodox (haredi) community in Israel has become something of a Jewish obsession of late—and for perfectly understandable reasons. Living for the most part in insular neighborhoods, wearing exotic clothes and adhering to exotic practices, this large and rapidly growing group of strictly traditionalist Jews provides a tantalizing subject for journalists as well as filmmakers, fiction writers, and television producers. The news media are particularly committed to exposing the foibles—the more salacious, the better—of the so-called “haredi world.”

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More about: Haredim, Israel, Ultra-Orthodox