Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daylight savings in time in Israel will now be until the last Sunday in October

I think this is a reasonable setup, however, it will cause some problems with early morning minyanim in October. At the end of October actual sunrise in Israel is about 6:50, however, many are machmir for נץ הנראה which is 10-15 minutes later. What this means is that those who are machmir will not be able to daven before approximately 6:45.

The woman is erased but her feet remain

Yated Neeman has a policy not to show any pictures of women so when they get a picture with a woman that they want to print, they simply photoshop her out. However, sometimes they do a bad job and leave over small parts of the woman's body like in the case below where the woman's feet and shoes are clearly visible under the man's body.

Source: Kikar Shabbat

Monday, May 27, 2013

I feel like it's 1984 ...

when I read the Charedi newspapers these days. The Charedi press is simply inventing a story and writing about it. The Charedi press is full of headlines "The destruction of the Torah world" and "Israel is the only country in the world which restricts Torah learning" etc. when it is nothing of the sort. As I wrote here this is simply ridiculous. The current proposal allows those who want to sit and learn to do so until 21. At the age of 21 they need to serve. After their 2.5 years of service time they are free to do whatever they want. They can go back to the Yeshiva and sit and learn 18 hours a day for the next 50 years. No one is going to stop them, period. The only thing they need to is figure out on what whey are going to live on (like everyone else). This is exactly what R' Elyashiv did, he sat and learned all day until his kids were literally starving (see here and here), and then he got a job as a Dayan for the Rabbanut.

In reality, the Charedi world has 2 problems with the proposals:
1. Freedom of choice - Believe it or not, the Charedi leadership loved the fact that you could not work without going to the army. This forced everyone to stay in yeshiva/kollel to avoid the army. The current proposals free people up at a much earlier age which means that many more people will leave the yeshiva/kollel by choice. It also give people much more educational choice, they will be able to actually get a higher secular education.
2. It's all about money. The Charedi world as currently constituted cannot survive without government money (see this post for the details). If the government takes away the money the Charedi world will have no choice but to change and have more people go to work.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Women's names on Coke bottles cause a big storm in the Charedi world

Coke has R' Landau's Hechsher and is the drink of choice for many Rebbe's at their tishes. However, they are running an ad campaign which features peoples names on the bottle labels as you can see below.

Some bottles have women's names on them (Tali, Savta) and some have men's names on them (Shay). The Charedi world is up in arms, how can they serve the Rebbe from a bottle with a women's name on it? R' Landau is putting pressure on Coca Cola to not distribute these bottles in Charedi areas. In the meantime here is 1 solution.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I wouldn't hire Charedi women either

The Mishpacha newspaper had a long article this past Tuesday on the problems that Charedi women have in finding good paying jobs. IMHO, they downplayed the major reasons Charedi women have problems:

I. Pregnancy

Charedi women are almost always pregnant. If you hire a 23 year old Charedi women she probably has 1 child already and is pregnant with another. Over the next 15 years she will probably have a baby every 18 months to 2 years. This raises a number of serious issues for any employer:

  1. Maternity leave - Every 18 months to 2 years the woman will take off at least 3 months, the employer has to figure out how to replace her for those 3 months, it is not simple. If you have a number of Charedi women, the odds are that at any given time at least one will be out on maternity leave.
  2. In Israel it is practically impossible to fire a pregnant women. I saw this happen more then once where I work (a major American company with tens of thousands of employees around the world). Management decided to discontinue a product that was not selling and therefore laid off the entire team, directors, manager, programmers etc. Everyone except for the one woman who was 5 months pregnant. The company paid her not to come to work for the duration of her pregnancy she then took her 3 months maternity leave and then they paid her another 3 months until they could fire her. While no one hires employees with the intention of firing them, the ability to fire workers is important. Charedi women are very hard to fire because they are generally either pregnant or just had a baby much of the time. 
  3. Pregnancy itself - Being pregnant is not easy (each stage has it's challenges) and there is no question that for at least some women it will affect their productivity

II. Large Families

Charedi women generally have large families and large families make it harder to work for a number of reasons:
  1. If you have 5, 6,7 or more kids, someone is always sick and someone needs to stay home and take care of them.
  2. Someone needs to watch the kids during school vacations 
  3. School ends late afternoon, someone needs to watch the kids until teh mother gets home for work, or she needs to leave work early.
  4. Taking care of a large family is exhausting and a full time job. 
  5. Travel is very difficult if not impossible. 

III. It's a job not a career

Charedi women are brought up that work is a necessary evil to support their husband while learning and that they should not be career women. This means that they are generally not looking to get ahead etc. and will do their jobs but nothing more. It makes for good low level workers but does not provide much path for advancement.

IV.Cultural Issues

Charedi women want to work in an all female Charedi environment. What that means is that they have nowhere to advance and are severely limited in what and where they can work. If a Charedi women shows great promise it is very hard to promote here because she will then have to work with men, chilonim, and non-Jews. These days the workplace is all about teamwork. If you have nothing in common and can't relate to your co-workers it is a problem.

V. Education

Charedi woman may be well educated in the Beis Yaakov's but they generally don't have real academic degrees and in the secular world that is what counts. In all of the hi tech companies that I have worked for in Israel, they can't even get in the door because the minimum requirement is a degree from a University. Without a University degree they are limited to lower paying jobs.

In short, IMHO Charedi women have a hard time finding good paying jobs not because of discrimination but because of legitimate business and financial reasons. If I was running a business/managing a group, I would have a very hard time justifying hiring a Charedi woman because of all the issues mentioned above. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lakewood has no religious test for admission???

Anyone who knows anything about Lakewood knows that that statement is ridiculous. Yet this is exactly what Moshe Gleiberman, vice president of administration at Beth Medrash Govoha, said in an interview defending the states decision to grant Lakewood a $10.6 million grant to build a library:

there is no "religious test" for admission, but it does have rigid education standards.

However, people are starting to ask questions, see this article:

Now the state’s top Assembly Democrat says she is concerned about public dollars going to a college with admission standards she says resemble a "religious test." Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said students who want to go to the college must speak Hebrew, know the sacred texts and agree not to date within the first six months of schooling.

"I will tell you that I am extremely surprised by this," Oliver said. "This is not a secondary institution that is open to the general public."

Oliver sees a distinction between Beth Medrash Govoha — known in Hebrew as a yeshiva — and private Catholic schools like Seton Hall University and St. Peter’s University that she says should qualify for public money.

"Seton Hall is open to anyone — Jewish, Christian and Muslim. They have an open admission process, and any student in New Jersey can attend." Oliver said. "Not every student can attend the yeshiva."

If a qualified non-jew or a woman takes them at their word and applies for admission to make a point what is Lakewood going to do? The Charedi world attacked YU very harshly when it came to various compromises in order to get government money, yet it looks like Lakewood is basically doing the same thing for the same reason, to get government money.

With money tight and the economy bad, I guess anything goes when it comes to money.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Ner Israel repudiates Dov Lipman

Dov Lipman has said many times that he is a product of Ner Israel and that his hashkafos are based on what he learned from the previous Rosh Yeshiva, R' Weinberg.

However, the current Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel, R' Aharon Feldman, wrote a strongly worded letter against Dov Lipman saying:

The positions and pronouncements of Dov Lipman do not in any way represent the positions of the Yieshivas Ner Israel or the former Rosh Yeshiva, R' Weinberg