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.

December 15, 2014 | Yehoshua Pfeffer
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.
This is a response to Are the Ultra-Orthodox the Key to Israel's Future?, originally published in Mosaic in December 2014

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

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.”

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now