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Haredi Judaism

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Title: Haredi Judaism  
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Haredi Judaism

Haredi Jewish youth in Jerusalem, reading a poster.

Haredi Judaism (Hebrew: חֲרֵדִי Ḥaredi, IPA: ; also spelled Charedi, plural Charedim) is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture.[1] Its members are often referred to as strictly Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox in English. However the term "ultra-Orthodox" is considered derogatory by some. Haredim regard themselves as the most religiously authentic group of Jews,[2] and although this claim is contested by other streams, it is a perception which is often held in wider Jewish and non-Jewish society.[3][4]

Haredi Judaism emerged in response to the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) which had given birth to the Reform movement. In contrast to Modern Orthodox Judaism, which hastened to embrace modernity, the approach of the Haredim was to maintain a steadfast adherence to Jewish religious law by segregating itself from modern society.[5]

Their communities are primarily found in Israel, North America and Western Europe. During the Holocaust, their numbers were devastated, with whole communities wiped out. Their estimated global population currently numbers 1.3–1.5 million and due to a virtual absence of interfaith marriage and a high birth rate, their numbers are growing rapidly.[6][7][8][9] Their numbers have also been boosted by a modest number of secular Jews adopting a Haredi lifestyle.[10][11][12][13]


  • Terminology 1
  • History 2
    • Background and formation 2.1
    • Post-Holocaust 2.2
  • Practices and beliefs 3
    • Lifestyle and family 3.1
    • Dress 3.2
    • Neighborhoods 3.3
    • Gender separation 3.4
    • Newspapers and publications 3.5
  • In Israel 4
    • Political Zionism 4.1
    • Education 4.2
    • Military 4.3
    • Employment 4.4
    • Other issues 4.5
  • Population 5
    • Israel 5.1
    • United States 5.2
      • New York City 5.2.1
        • Brooklyn
        • Queens
        • Manhattan
      • Upstate New York 5.2.2
      • Long Island (New York) 5.2.3
      • New Jersey 5.2.4
      • Maryland 5.2.5
      • California 5.2.6
      • Illinois 5.2.7
      • Ohio 5.2.8
    • United Kingdom 5.3
    • Elsewhere 5.4
  • Past rabbinical leaders 6
  • Present leadership and organisations 7
    • Rabbis 7.1
    • Groups 7.2
    • Israeli political parties 7.3
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11


Haredi is a Modern Hebrew adjective derived from the Biblical verb hared which appears in the Book of Isaiah (66:2; its plural haredim appears in Isaiah 66:5)[14] and is translated as "[one who] trembles" at the word of God. The word connotes an awe-inspired fear and anxiety to perform the will of God[15] and is used to describe staunchly Orthodox Jews (similar to the definition used by the Christian Quakers)[16][17] and to distinguish them from other Orthodox Jews.[14] The word Haredi is increasingly being used in the Jewish diaspora in place of the term "ultra-Orthodox", which some view as inaccurate or offensive,[18][19] it being seen as a derogatory term suggesting extremism; English-language alternatives that have been proposed include "fervently Orthodox"[20] and "strictly Orthodox".[19]

Sometimes the community has been characterized as "Traditional Orthodox", in contradistinction to the Modern Orthodox, the other major branch of Orthodox Judaism (not to be confused with the movement represented by Union for Traditional Judaism, which is yet more "modern" than the Modern Orthodox).[21][22]

Haredi Jews also use other terms to refer to themselves. Common Yiddish words include Yidn (Jews) or erlekhe Yidn (virtuous Jews),[18] Ben Torah (literally "son of the Torah"),[14] frum (pious) and heimish (home-like, i.e. "our crowd"). In Israel, Haredi Jews are sometimes also called by the derogatory slang words dos (plural dosim), that mimics the traditional Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation of the Hebrew word datim, meaning religious,[23] and more rarely, "blacks" (sh'chorim), a reference to the black clothes they typically wear;[24] a related informal term used in English is "Black Hat".[25]


Hasidic boys in Łódź in 1910.

The forebears of the contemporary Haredim were the traditionalists of Eastern Europe who fought against the new movements emerging in the Jewish communities.

Background and formation

For several centuries before Jewish emancipation, most European Jews were forced to live in Jewish ghettos, where both the culture and their religious observances were preserved. This situation began to change with the Age of Enlightenment and calls by some European liberals to include the Jewish population in the emerging empires and nation states, as well as with Jewry's own Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment). This group argued that Judaism itself had to reform in keeping with the social changes taking place around them. Other Jews insisted on maintaining strict adherence to Jewish law and custom.

In synagogues and schools. His approach was to accept the tools of modern scholarship and apply them in defence of Orthodoxy. In Poland (including areas traditionally considered "Lithuanian"), Jews true to traditional values gathered under the banner of Agudas Shlumei Emunei Yisroel.[26]

Moses Sofer was opposed to any philosophical, social or practical change to customary Orthodox practice. Thus, he did not allow any secular studies to be added to the curriculum of his Pressburg Yeshiva. Sofer's student Moshe Schick together with Sofer's sons Shimon and Samuel Benjamin took an active role in arguing against the Reform movement. Others, such as Hillel Lichtenstein based a more stringent position to orthodoxy.

A major historic event was the meltdown after the Universal Israelite Congress of 1868–1869 in Pest. In an attempt to unify all streams of Judaism under one constitution, the Orthodox offered the Shulchan Aruch as the ruling Code of law and observance. This was dismissed by the reformists, leading many Orthodox rabbis to resign from the Congress and form their own social and political groups. Hungarian Jewry split into two major institutionally sectarian groups, Orthodox and Neolog. However, some communities refused to join either of the groups calling themselves Status Quo.

Schick demonstrated support in 1877 for the separatist policies of Samson Raphael Hirsch in Germany. Schick's own son was enrolled in the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary that taught secular studies and was headed by Azriel Hildesheimer. Hirsch, however, did not reciprocate and expressed astonishment at Schick's halakhic contortions in condemning even those Status Quo communities that clearly adhered to halakhah.[27] Lichtenstein opposed Hildesheimer and his son Hirsh as they made use of the German language in sermons from the pulpit and seemed to sway to the direction of Modern Zionism.[28]

Shimon Sofer was somewhat more lenient than Lichtenstein on the use of German in sermons, allowing so only if it was a medium for keeping cordial relations with the various governments. Likewise, he allowed extra-curricular studies of the gymnasium for students whose rabbinical positions would be recognized by the governments, stipulating the necessity to prove the strict adherence to the God-fearing standards per individual case.[29]

Orthodox Jews from Galicia at the Karmelitermarkt (de) in Vienna's second district Leopoldstadt, 1915

In 1912, the Hasidic rebbes and Lithuanian rosh yeshivas. Agudah nominated rabbis who were elected as representatives in the Polish government Sejm, such as Meir Shapiro and Yitzhak-Meir Levin. Not all Hasidic factions joined the Agudath Israel, remaining independent such as Machzikei Hadat of Galicia.[30]

In 1919, Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld and Yitzchok Yerucham Diskin founded the Edah HaChareidis as part of Agudath Israel in then Mandate Palestine.

In 1924 Agudath Israel obtained 75 percent of the votes in the Kehilla elections.[31]

The Orthodox community polled some 16,000 of a total 90,000 at the Knesseth Israel in 1929.[32] But Sonnenfeld lobbied Sir John Chancellor, the High Commissioner, for separate representation in the Palestine Communities Ordinance from that of the Knesseth Israel. He explained that the Agudas Israel community would cooperate with the Vaad Leumi and the National Jewish Council in matters pertaining to the municipality, but sought to protect its religious convictions independently. The community petitioned the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations on this issue. The one community principle was victorious despite their opposition, but this is seen as the creation of the Haredi community in Israel separate from the other modern Orthodox and Zionist movements.[33]

In 1932 Sonnenfeld was succeeded by Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky (I), a disciple of the Shevet Sofer, one of the grandchildren of Moses Sofer. Dushinsky promised to build up a strong Jewish Orthodoxy at peace with the other Jewish communities and the non-Jews.[34]


In general, the present-day Haredi population originate from two distinct post-Holocaust waves:

  1. The vast majority of Hasidic and Litvak communities were destroyed during the Holocaust.[35][36] In the decade or so after 1945, there was a strong drive to revive and maintain these lifestyles by some notable Haredi leaders. The Chazon Ish was particularly prominent in the early days of the State of Israel. Rabbi Aharon Kotler established many of the Haredi schools and Yeshivas in the United States and Israel; and Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum had a significant impact on revitalizing Hasidic Jewry, as well as many of the Jews who fled Hungary during 1956 revolution who became followers of his Satmar dynasty, and became the largest Hasidic sect in the world. These Haredim would typically only have maintained a connection with other religious family members. As such, those growing up in such families have little or no contact with non-Haredim.[37]
  2. The second wave began in the 1970s associated with the religious revival of the so-called baal teshuva movement. Although most of the newly religious become Orthodox and not necessarily fully Haredi. The formation and spread of the Sephardic Haredi lifestyle movement also began in the 1980s by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef alongside the establishment of the Shas party in 1984. This led many Sephardi Jews to adopt the clothing and culture of the Lithuanian Haredim, though it had no historical basis in their own tradition. Many yeshivas were also established specifically for new adopters of the Haredi way of life.

The original Haredi population has been instrumental in the expansion of their lifestyle, though criticisms have been made of discrimination towards the later adopters of the Haredi lifestyle in Shidduchim (matchmaking)[38] and the school system.[39]

Practices and beliefs

A Haredi Jew at a payphone in Bnei Brak

Haredi Judaism is not an institutionally cohesive or homogeneous group, but comprises a diversity of spiritual and cultural orientations, generally divided into a broad range of Hasidic sects, Lithuanian-Yeshivish streams from Eastern Europe, and Oriental Sephardic Haredim. These groups often differ significantly from one another in their specific ideologies and lifestyles, as well as the degree of stringency in religious practice, rigidity of religious philosophy and isolation from the general culture that they maintain. The majority of the Haredim worldwide therefore live in neighborhoods in which reside mostly other Haredim of their own or similar sect.

Lifestyle and family

Haredi family in the Satmar community. Photo taken in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York

Haredi life, like Orthodox Jewish life in general, is very family-centered. Boys and girls attend separate schools and proceed to higher Torah study, in a yeshiva or seminary respectively, starting anywhere between the ages of 13 and 18. A significant proportion of young men remain in yeshiva until their marriage. After marriage, many Haredi men continue their Torah studies in a kollel. Studying in secular institutions is discouraged, although educational facilities for vocational training in a Haredi framework do exist. In the United States and Europe, the majority of Haredi males are active in the workforce. For various reasons, in Israel, around half of their members do not work, and most of those who do are not officially a part of the workforce.[40][41][42] Families are usually large, reflecting adherence to the biblical commandment "Be fruitful and multiply".

Haredi Jews are typically opposed to the viewing of Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane. Internet has been allowed for business purposes so long as filters are installed.


Young married Haredi woman at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, walking backwards away from the Wall to show respect and reverence

The standard mode of dress for males of the Lithuanian stream are black suits and a white shirt. Headgear includes black Fedora or Homburg hats, with black skull caps under the hats. Beards are common among Haredi and many other Orthodox Jewish men, and most Hasidic males will never be clean shaven. Women adhere to the laws of modest dress and wear long skirts and sleeves, high necklines and, if married, some form of hair covering.[48]

Haredi women never wear trousers; although a small minority do wear pajama-trousers within the home at night.[49]

Over the years it has become popular among some Haredi women to wear wigs that are more attractive than their own hair (drawing criticism from some more conservative Haredi rabbis). Mainstream Sepharadi Haredi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef forbade the wearing of wigs altogether.[50] Unlike on the streets, Haredi women often dress more freely and casually within the home, as long as the body remains covered in accordance with the halacha. More "modernized" Haredi women are somewhat more lenient in matters of their dress and some follow the latest trends and fashions while conforming to the halacha.[49]

Non-Lithuanian Hasidic men and women differ from the Lithuanian stream by having a much more specific dress code, the most obvious difference for men being the full-length suit jacket (rekel) on weekdays and fur hat (shtreimel) and silk caftan (bekishe) on the Sabbath.

Some have suggested that Haredi indulgence in matters of modesty is in itself excessive, and thus 'not modest'.[51]


Haredi neighborhoods are typically free of violent crime and are protected from foreign influences.[52] In Israel, the entrances to some ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods are fitted with signs asking that modest clothing be worn.[53] Some areas are known to have "modesty patrols"[54] and people dressed in ways perceived as immodest may suffer harassment and advertisements featuring scantily dressed models may be targeted for vandalism.[55][56] These concerns are also addressed through public lobbying and legal avenues.[57][58] During the week long Rio Carnival, many Orthodox Jews feel compelled to leave the town due to the immodest exposure of participants.[59] In 2001, Haredi campaigners in Jerusalem succeeded in persuading the Egged bus company to get all their advertisements approved by a special committee.[60] By 2011, Egged had gradually removed all bus adverts which featured women in response to their continuous defacement. A court order in 2013 which stated such action was discriminatory led to Egged's decision not to feature males or females,[61] and other creatures, such as aliens, were also banned in order not to offend Haredi.[62] Haredi Jews also campaign against other types of advertising which promote activities they deem offensive or inappropriate.[63]

To honor the Jewish Sabbath, most state run buses in Israel do not run on Saturdays.[64] In a similar vein, Haredi Jews in Israel have demanded that the roads in their neighborhoods be closed on Saturdays, vehicular traffic being viewed as an "intolerable provocation" upon their religious lifestyle (see Driving on Shabbat in Jewish law). In most cases, the authorities granted permission after Haredi petitioning and demonstrations, some of them including fierce clashes between Haredim and secular counter demonstrators, and violence against police and motorists.[65]

Gender separation

While traditional Jewish modesty law requires gender separation under various circumstances, observers have contended that there is a growing trend among some sects of Hasidic Haredi Jews to extend its observance to the public arena.[66]

To accommodate Haredi and other Orthodox Jews, many coastal resorts in Israel have a designated area for separate bathing.[67][68]

In the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, New York, an entrance sign asks visitors to "maintain gender separation in all public areas" and the bus stops have separate waiting areas for men and women.[69] In New Square, another Hasidic enclave, men and women are expected to walk on opposite sides of the road.[66] In Israel, residents of Meah Shearim were banned from erecting a street barrier dividing men and women during the nightly week-long Sukkot festivities[70][71] and street signs requesting that women avoid certain pavements in Beit Shemesh have been repeatedly removed by the municipality.[72]

Since 1973, buses catering for Haredi Jews running from New York into Manhattan have had separate areas for men and women, allowing passengers to conduct on-board prayer services.[73] Although the lines are privately operated, they serve the general public and in 2011 the set-up was challenged on grounds of discrimination and the arrangement was deemed illegal.[74][75] During 2010–2012, there was much public debate in Israel surrounding the existence of segregated Haredi Mehadrin bus lines (whose policy calls for both men and women to stay in their respective areas: men in the front of the bus[76] and women in the rear of the bus) following an altercation which occurred after a woman refused to move to the rear of the bus to sit among the women. A subsequent court ruling stated that while voluntary segregation should be allowed, forced separation is unlawful.[77] Israeli national airline El Al has agreed to provide gender-separated flights to cater for Haredi requirements.[78]

Newspapers and publications

In pre-war Poland, the Agudath Israel published its own Yiddish language paper, Dos Yiddishe Tagblatt. In 1950, the Agudah started printing Hamodia, a Hebrew language Israeli daily.

Haredi publications tend to shield their readership from objectionable material[79] and perceive themselves as a "counterculture", desisting from advertising secular entertainment and events.[80] The editorial policy of a Haredi newspaper is determined by a rabbinical board and every edition is checked by a rabbinical censor.[81] A strict policy of modesty is characteristic of the Haredi press and pictures of women and girls are generally not printed.[82] In 2009, the Israeli daily Yated Ne'eman doctored an Israeli cabinet photograph replacing two female ministers with images of men,[83] and in 2013, the Bakehilah magazine pixelated the faces of women appearing in a photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto.[84] The mainstream Haredi political party Shas also refrain from publishing female images.[85]

No coverage is given to serious crime, sport or non-Jewish festivals[82] and little coverage is given to other streams of Judaism.[86] Inclusion of "immoral" content is avoided and when publication of such stories is a necessity, they are written ambiguously.[82] The Haredi press generally takes an anti-Zionist stance and gives more coverage to issues which concern the Haredi community, such as the drafting of girls and yeshiva students into the army, autopsies and Sabbath observance.[80] In Israel, it portrays the secular world as "spitefully anti-Semitic" and describes secular youth as "mindless, immoral, drugged, and unspeakably lewd."[87][88] Such attacks have led to Haredi editors being warned about libelous provocations.[89]

While the Haredi press is extensive and varied in Israel,[80] only around half the Haredi population read newspapers. Around 10% read secular newspapers while 40% do not read any newspaper at all.[90] According to a 2007 survey, 27% read the weekend Friday edition of Hamodia and 26% the Yated Ne'eman.[91] In 2006, the most read Haredi magazine in Israel was the Mishpacha weekly which sold 110,000 copies.[91]

In Israel

Political Zionism

Haredim bitterly opposed the establishment of the State of Israel and they do not celebrate its national Independence Day or other state instituted holidays, referring to them as "idolatrous."[92][93]

The chief political division among Haredim has been in their approach to the State of Israel. While ideologically non-Zionist, the World Agudath Israel and Agudath Israel of America) represent a moderate and pragmatic stance of cooperation with the State of Israel and participation in the political system. UTJ has been a participant in numerous coalition governments, seeking to influence state and society in a more religious direction and maintain welfare and religious funding policies. Haredim who are more stridently anti-Zionist are under the umbrella of Edah HaChareidis, who reject participation in politics and state funding of its affiliated institutions, in contradistinction to Agudah-affiliated institutions. Neturei Karta is an activist organisation of anti-Zionist Haredim, whose controversial activities have been strongly condemned, including by other Haredim. Neither main political party has the support in numbers to elect a majority government, and so they both rely on support from the Haredi parties.

In recent years, some rebbes affiliated with Agudath, such as the Sadigura rebbe Avrohom Yaakov Friedman, have taken more hardline stances on security, settlements and disengagement.[94]

Shas represents Sephardi and Mizrahi Haredim and, while having many points in common with Ashkenazi Haredim, differs from them by its more enthusiastic support for the State of Israel.


The Council for Higher Education announced in 2012 that it was investing NIS 180 million over the following five years to establish appropriate frameworks for the education of Haredim, focusing on specific professions.[95]


  • The Haredim can work in those 2–3 years of their lives in which they do not serve in the IDF, while most soldiers at the IDF are usually paid anywhere between $80–250 a month.[96] All the while, Haredi yeshiva students receive significant monthly funds and payments for their religious studies.[97]
  • The Haredim, if they so choose, can study at that time,[98] while most soldiers are not allowed to.[99]

While a few dozen Haredim have enlisted in the IDF every year in recent decades, the Haredim usually reject those criticisms. Depending on which Haredi is asked, one might argue that:

  • A Yeshiva student is equal to or more important than a soldier in the IDF, because he keeps Jewish tradition alive and prays for the people of Israel to be safe.[100][101][102]

The Torato Omanuto arrangement was enshrined in the Tal Law that came in force in 2002. The High Court later ruled that it could not be extended in its current form beyond August 2012. A replacement was expected. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was however experiencing a shortage of personnel, and there were pressures to reduce the scope of the Torato Omanuto exemption.[104]

The Shahar program, also known as Shiluv Haredim ("Ultra-Orthodox integration") allows Haredi men aged 22 to 26 to serve in the army for about a year and a half. At the beginning of their service, they study mathematics and English, which are not well covered in Haredi schools. The program is partly aimed at encouraging Haredi participation in the workforce after military service. However, not all beneficiaries seem to be Haredim.[105]

Over the years, as many as 1000 Haredi Jews have chosen to volunteer to serve in the IDF, in a Haredi Jewish unit, the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, also known as Nahal Haredi. The vast majority of Haredi men, however, continue to receive deferments from military service.[106]

In March 2014 Israel's parliament approved legislation to end exemptions from military service for Haredi seminary students. The bill was passed by 65 votes to one, and an amendment allowing civilian national service by 67 to one.[107]

There has been much uproar in Haredi society following actions towards Haredi conscription. While some Haredim see this as a great social and economic opportunity,[108] others (including leading rabbis among them) strongly oppose this move.[109] Among the extreme Haredim there have been some more severe reactions. Several Haredi leaders have threatened that Haredi populations would leave the country if forced to enlist.[110][111] Others have fueled public incitement against Seculars and National-Religious Jews, and specifically against politicians Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, who support and promote Haredi enlistment.[112][113] Some Haredim have taken to threatening fellow Haredim who agree to enlist,[114][115] to the point of physically attacking some of them.[116][117]


As of 2012 it was estimated that 37% of Haredi men and 49% of Haredi women were employed. The Trajtenberg Committee, charged in 2011 with drafting proposals for economic and social change, called, among other things, for increasing employment among the Haredi population. Its proposals included encouraging military or national service and offering college prep courses for volunteers, creating more employment centers targeting Haredim and experimental matriculation prep courses after Yeshiva hours. The committee also called for increasing the number of Haredi students receiving technical training through the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry and forcing Haredi schools to carry out standardized testing, as is done at other public schools.[118] It is estimated that half as many of the Haredi community are in employment as the rest of population. This has led to increasing financial deprivation and 50% of children within the community live below the poverty line. This puts strain on each family, the community and the Israeli economy.

The demographic trend indicates the community will constitute an increasing percentage of the population, and consequently Israel faces an economic challenge in the years ahead due to fewer people in the labor force. A report commissioned by the Treasury found that the Israeli economy may lose more than 6 billion shekels annually as a result of low Haredi participation in the workforce.[119] The OECD in a 2010 report stated "Haredi families are frequently jobless or are one-earner families in low-paid employment. Poverty rates are around 60% for Haredim.”[120]

In 2007, the Kemach Foundation was established to become an investor in the sector’s social and economic development and provide opportunities for employment. Through the philanthropy of Leo Noé of London, later joined by the Wolfson family of New York and Elie Horn from Brazil, Kemach has facilitated academic and vocational training. With a $22m budget, including government funding, Kemach provides individualised career assessment, academic or vocational scholarships and job placement for the entire Haredi population in Israel. The Foundation is managed by specialists who, coming from the Haredi sector themselves, are familiar with the community’s needs and sensitivities. By April 2014, more than 17,800 Haredim have received the services of Kemach, and more than 7,500 have, or continue to receive monthly scholarships to fund their academic or vocational studies. From 500 graduates the net benefits to the government would be 80.8 million NIS if they work for one year, 572.3 million NIS if they work for 5 years, and 2.8 billion NIS (discounted) if they work for 30 years.[121]

According to data released by Central Bureau of Statistics, employment rate in haredi sector increased by 7% in two years, 2009-11.[122]

Other issues

Hasidim walk to the synagogue, Rehovot, Israel.

The Haredim are relatively poor, compared to other Israelis, but represent an important market sector due to their bloc purchasing habits.[123] For this reason, some companies and organizations in Israel refrain from including women or other images deemed immodest in their advertisements to avoid Haredi consumer boycotts.[124][125] More than 50 percent live below the poverty line and get state allowances, compared with 15 percent of the rest of the population...."[126] Their families are also larger, with Haredi women having an average of 6.7 children while the average Jewish Israeli woman has 3 children.[127]

In recent years, there has been a process of reconciliation and an attempt to merge Haredi Jews with Israeli society, although employment discrimination is widespread.[128] Haredi Jews such as satirist Kobi Arieli, publicist Sehara Blau, and politician Israel Eichler write regularly to leading Israeli newspapers.

Another important factor in the reconciliation process has been the activities of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski. It is estimated that Yad Sarah saves the country's economy an estimated $320 million in hospital fees and long-term care costs each year.[129][130]


Due to its imprecise definition, lack of data collection and rapid change over time, estimates of the global Haredi population are difficult to measure and may significantly underestimate the true number of Haredim, due to their reluctance to participate in surveys and censuses.[68][131] One estimate given in 2011 stated there were approximately 1.3 million Haredi Jews globally.[132] Studies have shown a very high growth rate with a large young population.[133]
Large Haredi

Israeli communities
In Jerusalem: Mea Shearim
Beis Yisroel · Geula
Har Nof · Ramot
Ramat Shlomo · Sanhedria
Neve Yaakov · Maalot Dafna
Ramat Eshkol · Ezras Torah
Mattersdorf · Bayit Vegan
Bnei Brak · Modi'in Illit
Beitar · Beit Shemesh
Kiryat Ye'arim · Ashdod
Rekhasim · Safed · El'ad
North America:
Flatbush · Williamsburg
Borough Park
Crown Heights Canarsie East New York · Monsey
Lakewood · Passaic
Los Angeles · Chicago
Cleveland · Baltimore
United Kingdom:
Stamford Hill · Hendon
Golders Green · Edgware
Broughton Park · Prestwich


Israel is home to the largest Haredi population, at approx. 750,000 (out of 7.5 million Israelis) in 2009. The number of Haredi Jews in Israel is rising rapidly. The number of children per woman is 6.2, and the share of Haredim among those under the age of 20 was 16.3% in 2009 (29% of Jews).[134] In 1992, out of a total of 1,500,000 Orthodox Jews world wide, about 550,000 were Haredi (half of them in Israel).[135] The vast majority of Haredi Jews are Ashkenazi. However, some 20% of the Haredi population are thought to belong to the Sephardic Haredi stream. In recent decades Haredi society has grown due to the addition of a religious population that identifies with the Shas movement. The extent of people leaving the Haredi population is extremely low. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics forecasts that the Haredi population of Israel will number 1.1 million in 2019. It is also projected that the number of Haredim in 2059 may be between 2.73 and 5.84 million, of an estimated number of Israeli Jews anywhere between 6.09 million and 9.95 million.[134][136] Large Israeli Haredi concentrations include Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Ye'arim, Ashdod, and El'ad. Two Haredi cities, Kasif and Harish are planned.

United States

The United States is home to the second largest Haredi population, which has a growth rate on pace to double every 20 years. In 2000, there were 360,000 Haredi Jews in the US (7.2 per cent of the approximately 5 million Jews in the U.S.); by 2006, demographers estimate the number had grown to 468,000 or 9.4 per cent.[7]

New York City

Most American Haredi Jews live in the greater New York metropolitan area.[137][138]


The largest centers of Haredi and Hasidic life anywhere in New York are to be found in Brooklyn[139][140] (official name: "Kings County").


The New York City borough of Queens is home to a growing Haredi population mainly affiliated with the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Kew Gardens Hills and Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah. Many of the students attend Queens College.[147] There are major yeshivas and communities of Haredi Jews in Far Rockaway[145] such as Yeshiva of Far Rockaway and a number of others.


One of the oldest Haredi communities in New York is on the Lower east Side[148] home to the Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem. The Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and Khal Adath Jeshurun are home to Haredi Jews in Washington Heights.[149]

Upstate New York

Upstate New York has Haredi communities such as the Hasidic communities in Kiryas Joel[150][151] of Satmar Hasidim and New Square of the Skver.[152] And a vast community of Haredi Jews lives in the Monsey, New York area.[153]

Long Island (New York)

The Yeshiva Sh'or Yoshuv together with many synagogues in the Lawrence neighborhood have attracted many Haredi Jews.[154]

New Jersey

There are significant Haredi communities in Lakewood (New Jersey) home to the largest non-Hasidic Lithuanian yeshiva in America Beth Medrash Govoha.[155] As well as in Passaic,[156] Edison where in 1982 a branch of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva opened, and a community largely of Syrian Jews favorable to the Haredim in their midst in Deal, New Jersey.[157]


Baltimore in the state of Maryland is home to a large Haredi population. The major Haredi yeshiva is Yeshivas Ner Yisroel founded in 1933 with thousands of alumni and their families. Ner Yisroel is also a Maryland state accredited college, and has agreements with Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Baltimore, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County allowing undergraduate students to take night courses at these colleges and universities in a variety of academic fields.[147] The agreement also allows the students to receive academic credits for their religious studies.

Silver Spring, Maryland and its environs is home to a growing Haredi community mostly of highly educated and skilled professionals working for the United States government in various capacities, most residing in Kemp Mill, White Oak and Woodside[158] and many of its children attend the Yeshiva of Greater Washington and Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.


Los Angeles is home to many Hasidim and Haredi Jews who are not Hasidic. Most live in the Pico-Robertson and the Fairfax (Fairfax Avenue-La Brea Avenue) areas.[159][160]


Chicago is home to the Haredi Telshe Yeshiva of Chicago with many other Haredim living in the city.[161]


One of the oldest Haredi Lithuanian yeshivas, Telshe Yeshiva transplanted itself to Cleveland in 1941.[162][163]

United Kingdom

In 1998, the Haredi population in the Jewish community of the United Kingdom was estimated at 27,000 (13% of affiliated Jews).[135] A 2007 study asserted that 3 out of every 4 Jewish births are Haredi, who then accounted for 17% of British Jews, (45,500 out of around 275,000).[7] Another study in 2010 established that there were 9,049 Haredi households in the UK which would account for a population of nearly 53,400 or 20% of the community.[164][165] Within the next three decades, the Board of Deputies of British Jews predicts that the Haredi community will become the largest group in Anglo-Jewry: in comparison with the national average of 2.4 children per family, Haredi families have an average of 5.9 children. As of 2006, membership of Haredi synagogues had doubled since 1990.[166] In the UK, the largest communities are located in London, particularly the Haredi community of Stamford Hill and in the Greater Manchester neighbourhoods of Salford and Prestwich; and in the Jewish community of Gateshead.


About 25,000 Haredim live in the Jewish community of France, mostly Sephardi Jews of North African descent.[135] Important communities are located in Paris, Strasbourg and Lyon. Other important communities, mostly of Ashkenazi Jews, are the Jewish community of Antwerp in Belgium, as well as in Jewish communities in Switzerland in Zürich and Basel, and in the Jewish community of the Netherlands in Amsterdam. There is also a Haredi community in Vienna, in the Jewish community of Austria. Other countries with significant Haredi populations include the Jewish community of Canada, Jewish community of South Africa and Jewish community of Australia. Hasidic communities also exist in the Jewish community of Brazil, especially in the city of Sao Paulo.

Country Year Population Annual growth rate
Israel 2006 444,000–795,000[68] 6%[167]
United States 2006 468,000[7] 5.4%[7]
United Kingdom 2007/2008 22,800–36,400[168] / 45,500[7] 4%[168]

Past rabbinical leaders

Present leadership and organisations



Israeli political parties

See also


  1. ^ "Haredi | Define Haredi at". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  2. ^ Tatyana Dumova; Richard Fiordo (30 September 2011). Blogging in the Global Society: Cultural, Political and Geographical Aspects. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 126.  
  3. ^ Nora L. Rubel (2010). Doubting the Devout: The Ultra-Orthodox in the Jewish American Imagination. Columbia University Press. p. 148.  
  4. ^ Ilan 2012: "One of the main sources of power enabling Haredi Jews' extreme behavior is the Israeli public's widely held view that their way of life represents traditional Judaism, and that when it comes to Judaism, more radical means more authentic. This is among the most strongly held and unfounded myths in Israel society."
  5. ^ Batnitzky 2011, pp. 184–185
  6. ^ Norman S. Cohen (1 January 2012). The Americanization of the Jews. NYU Press. p. 389.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f Wise 2007
  8. ^ Buck, Tobias (2011-11-06). "Israel’s secular activists start to fight back". Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  9. ^ Eli Berman. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews" PDF. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 6715. August 1998
  10. ^ Šelomo A. Dešen; Charles Seymour Liebman; Moshe Shokeid (1 January 1995). Israeli Judaism: The Sociology of Religion in Israel. Transaction Publishers. p. 28.  
  11. ^ Harris 1992, p. 490: "This movement began in the US but is now centred in Israel, where since 1967 many thousands of Jews have consciously adopted an Ultra-Orthodox lifestyle."
  12. ^ Weintraub 2002, p. 211: "Many of the Ultra-Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn are baaley tshuva, Jews who have gone through a repentance experience and have become Orthodox though they may have been raised in entirely secular Jewish homes."
  13. ^ Returning to Tradition: The Contemporary Revival of Orthodox Judaism, By M. Herbert Danzger: "A survey of Jews in the New York metropolitan area found that 24% of those who were highly observant...had been reared by parents who did not share such scruples. [...] The ba'al t'shuva represents a new phenomenon for Judaism; for the first time there are not only Jews who leave the fold... but also a substantial number who "return." pg 2; and "Defined in terms of observance, then, the number of newly Orthodox is about 100,000." pg. 193.
  14. ^ a b c Stadler 2009, p. 4
  15. ^ Ben-Yehuda 2010, p. 17
  16. ^ White, John Kenneth (1998). Political Parties and the Collapse of the Old Orders. State University of New York Press. p. 157.
  17. ^ Keysar, Ariela (2009). Secularism, Women & the State: The Mediterranean World in the 21st Century. Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. p. 86.
  18. ^ a b Ayalon, Ami (1999). "Language as a barrier to political reform in the Middle East", International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 137, pp. 67–80: "Haredi" has none of the misleading religious implications of "ultra-Orthodox": in the words of Shilhav (1989: 53), "they are not necessarily [objectively] more religious but religious in a different way." and "'Haredi'… is preferable, being a term commonly used by such Jews themselves… Moreover, it carries none of the venom often injected into the term 'ultra-Orthodox' by other Jews and, sadly, by the Western media…."
  19. ^ a b Sources describing the term as pejorative or derogatory include:
    • Kobre, Eytan. , reviewed by Eytan KobreOne People, Two Worlds. A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues That Divide Them, Jewish Media Resources, February 2003. Retrieved August 25, 2009. "'Indeed, the social scientist Marvin Schick calls attention to the fact that "through the simple device of identifying [some Jews] … as "ultra-Orthodox", … [a] pejorative term has become the standard reference term for describing a great many Orthodox Jews…. No other ethnic or religious group in this country is identified in language that conveys so negative a message.'"
    • Goldschmidt, Henry. Race and religion among the chosen peoples of Crown Heights, Rutgers University Press, 2006, p. 244, note 26. "I am reluctant to use the term 'ultra-orthodox,' as the prefix 'ultra' carries pejorative connotations of irrational extremism."
    • Longman, Chia. "Engendering Identities as Political Processes: Discources of Gender Among Strictly Orthodox Jewish Women", in Rik Pinxten, Ghislain Verstraete, Chia Longmanp (eds.) Culture and politics: identity and conflict in a multicultural world, Berghahn Books, 2004, p. 55. "Webber (1994: 27) uses the label 'strictly Orthodox' when referring to haredi, seemingly more adequate as a purely descriptive name, yet carrying less pejorative connotations than ultra-Orthodox."
    • Shafran, Avi. Don't Call Us 'Ultra-Orthodox', The Jewish Daily Forward, February 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014. "Considering that other Orthodox groups have self-identified with prefixes like “modern” or “open,” why can’t we Haredim just be, simply, “Orthodox”? Our beliefs and practices, after all, are those that most resemble those of our grandparents. But, whatever alternative is adopted, “ultra” deserves to be jettisoned from media and discourse. We Haredim aren’t looking for special treatment, or to be called by some name we just happen to prefer. We’re only seeking the mothballing of a pejorative."
  20. ^ Lipowsky, Josh. "Paper loses 'divisive' term". Jewish Standard. January 30, 2009. "…JTA [Jewish Telegraphic Agency] faced the same conundrum and decided to do away with the term, replacing it with 'fervently Orthodox.' … 'ultra-Orthodox' was seen as a derogatory term that suggested extremism."
  21. ^ Heilman, Samuel C. (1976). Synagogue Life: A Study in Symbolic Interaction. Transaction Publishers. pp. 15–16.  
  22. ^ Ritzer, edited by George; Ryan, J. Michael (2011). The concise encyclopedia of sociology. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 335.  
  23. ^ Donna Rosenthal. The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land. Simon and Schuster, 2005. p. 183. "Dossim, a derogatory word for Haredim, is Yiddish-accented Hebrew for 'religious.'"
  24. ^ Nadia Abu El-Haj. Facts on the ground: Archaeological practice and territorial self-fashioning in Israeli society. University of Chicago Press, 2001. p. 262.
  25. ^ Benor, Sarah Bunin (2012). Becoming frum how newcomers learn the language and culture of Orthodox Judaism. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. p. 9.  
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  38. ^ Lehmann, David; Siebzehner, Batia (August 2009). "Power, Boundaries and Institutions: Marriage in Ultra-Orthodox Judaism". European Journal of Sociology 50 (2): 273–308. 
  39. ^ Bob, Yonah Jeremy (19 April 2013). "'"Sephardi haredim complain to court about 'ghettos.  
  40. ^ Stadler 2009, p. 79: "The economic situation of Haredi in Israel is unique. When comparing the Haredi community in Israel with that in the United States, Gonen (2000) found that Haredi members in the United States (both Lithuanians and Hassidic) work and participate in the labor market."
  41. ^ Stadler 2009, p. 44: "The support of the yeshiva culture is related also to the developments of Israel's welfare policy... This is why in Israel today, Haredim live in relatively poor conditions (Berman 2000, Dahan 1998, Shilhav 1991), and large Haredi families are totally dependent on state-funded social support systems. This situation is unique to Israel."
  42. ^ Stadler 2009, pp. 77–78: "According to various surveys of the Haredi community, between 46 and sixty percent of its members do not participate in the labor market and 25 percent have part-time jobs (see Berman 1998; Dahan 1998). Members who work usually take specific jobs within a very narrow range of occupations, mainly those of teachers and clerical or administrative staff (Lupo 2003). In addition, because Haredim encourage large families, half of them live in poverty and economic distress (Berman 1998)."
  43. ^ הרב הראשי לתלמידי הישיבות: אל תצפו בטלוויזיה בפיצוציות [Chief Rabbi [of Israel] To Yeshiva Students: Don't Watch TV in Kiosks]. Ynetnews (in Hebrew). 29 July 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
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  47. ^ "Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally to Discuss Risks of Internet".  
  48. ^ Hoffman 2011, p. 90
  49. ^ a b "A long article explaining the characteristics of female Haredi dress inside and outside the house". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  50. ^ Galahar, Ari. "Rabbi Yosef comes out against wig-wearing". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  51. ^ Marx, Daliah (16 July 2007). זה לא צנוע לדבר על צניעות [It's Not Modest to Talk About Modesty] (in Hebrew).  
  52. ^ Aryeh Spero (11 January 2013). "Orthodoxy Confronts Reform – The Two Hundred Years’ War". In Dana Evan Kaplan. Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism: Conflicting Visions. Routledge. p. 119.  
  53. ^ Starr Sered 2001, p. 196
  54. ^ Sharkansky 1996, p. 145: "Modesty patrols" exist in Bnei Brak and ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem; their purpose is to keep those areas free of immoral influences."
  55. ^ Ben-Yehuda 2010, p. 115: "Women dressed in what is judged as immodest may experience violence and harassment, and demands to leave the area. Immodest advertising may cause Haredi boycotts, and public spaces that present immodest advertisement may be vandalized."
  56. ^ Melman 1992, p. 128: "In one part of the city, Orthodox platoons smash billboards showing half-naked fashion models."
  57. ^ Heilman 2002, p. 322: "While similar sentiments about the moral significance of "immodest" posters in public are surely shared by American haredim, they would not attack images of scantily clad models on city bus stops on their neighborhoods with the same alacrity as their Israeli counterparts.
  58. ^ Calvin Klein bra advert ruled OK despite Charedi complaint, Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2012
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External links

  • Haredi and technology
  • Hasidic and Haredi Jewish population growth
  • Map of the main Haredi Communities in Jerusalem
  • Dei'ah Vedibur – Online Haredi newsweekly
  • Kemach Foundation
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