I would also point out that even though Nachal and Shachar were designed to give Charedim a service alternative that would enable them to honorably serve their country without sacrificing their ideals, and then join the workforce… mainstream Charedim are not the ones taking advantage of it. Shachar founder, Rabbi Betzalel Cohen put it this way a couple pf weeks ago in Mishpacha Magazine:
(H)ow can you take an 18 year old out of Yeshiva? It’s unconscionable, even for those who aren’t the biggest learners. But for 21 year olds who aren’t so into the full-time learning anymore? Then were talking about basic Yiddishkeit.
Let’s not fool ourselves about the current Charedi military programs. In no way is it seen by any Charedi rabbinic leader as any kind of mainstream way of serving in the military. It’ a Kiruv program for at risk Charedim.
Nonetheless accommodating Charedi sensibilities is the intent of the government and Lapid’s programs… and Nachal Charedi and Shachar should serve as the structural model of service for future Charedi inductees.
What about the extremists that are ruining even the small progress Charedim have made on their own? They have to be fought tooth and nail. Law breakers should be thrown in jail (How many times have I said that before?)
Other than that, progress sometimes means taking two steps back in order to move one step forward. That seems to be what is happening now – in the short term. But in the long term – perhaps we can eventually have it all… a vibrant Charedi community that continues to live a Torah L’Shma lifestyle and yet is able to fulfill its commitments to serve honorably alongside their Dati and secular counterparts – albeit in specialized units geared to their way of life. And perhaps finally they will also be able to get the basic education required in this world so that there will be no Charedi left behind in the workplace.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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