Israel is experiencing a growing tension between secular Jews and the ultra-Orthodox, the Haredim. The National Post has an article on the phenomenon. The men of the Haredim are exempt from conscription and spend all their time studying Torah – and fathering children. They do not work, but live on welfare.

About half of ultra-Orthodox adults do not work and nearly 60% of the men are full-time Torah students who receive government stipends.

But with a birth rate that far exceeds the national average, their numbers are expected double over the next 15 years. 

Many years ago I saw in picture in Time of a rally of young secular Israeli men who were carrying a stereotypically anti-Semitic poster of a Haredim. It showed a black-coated,  stooped, bearded, overweight reader of the Torah.


This version of Orthodox Judaism has found a way to connect men to the religious community but this way of connecting damages their masculinity both in perception and reality.


The male also has the important role of protector and provider, as well as fathering children and transmitting religious traditions.


The various Anabaptist communities, such as the Amish, seem to have achieved a far better balance of both cultivating the socially useful aspects of masculinity and integrating men into the religious community.


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