Photo Credit: David Cohen/Flash90

The Yotzim L’Shinui (Leaving for a Change) association, established by people who left Haredi society to reduce the difficulties that pile up in the way of those who seek to leave the Haredi world and serve as a support system on their journey to their new lives, on Friday published an extensive survey titled Yotzim Im Netunim (Leaving with Data), about their target constituency. The survey explains:

Given the rapid increase in the percentage of departures from Haredi society and in view of the Israeli Institute for Democracy’s assessment regarding the expected growth of this population group in the coming years, now is the time to “get up and do” regarding everything related to the preparation of the economy and state authorities in developing tailored solutions for this population and its successful integration into the general society, alongside the ongoing efforts to integrate the Haredi population. Understanding the great contribution that ex-Haredim can offer to Israeli society, as well as understanding their unique social needs and preventing risks in their paths as they transition between identities within Israeli Jewish society, are critical to the quality and rapid integration of these young men and women.

The survey, based largely on a February 2021 survey of the Israel Democracy Institute authored by Eitan Regev and Gavriel Gordon (מגמות ההצטרפות והעזיבה במגזר החרדי), reveals that out of about 53,400 men and women ages 20-64 who grew up in a Haredi home and no longer define themselves as part of Haredi society, about 34,300, or 64%, still define themselves today as religious, or even very religious, while about 19,100 define themselves as traditional, secular, or having a mixed lifestyle.

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Some 3,000 men and women leave Haredi society every year, and some 35,000 thousand young men and women ages 20-39 have left Haredi society in recent years.

The percentage of women leaving the Haredi fold is almost the same as the percentage of men: 48% women, 52% men. However, their time of departure is different: on average, women leave Haredi society at an older age than men.

There are significant differences in the rates of departure between the main currents of Haredi society: 5.4% of Chassidim leave the fold, 8.6% of Lithuanians, 16.9% of Lubavitchers, and 26.4% of Sephardim. Generally speaking, about half of the Haredim who leave their environment are Sephardim. And at least 28% of people who leave are the children of Ba’alei Teshuvah (returnees).

The Israel Democracy Institute’s original survey estimated that about 420,000 men and women are expected to leave Haredi society over the next four decades. Of these, about 40,000 will depart in the next decade, and an additional 55,000 in the decade that follows. However, at that time about 176,000 individuals are expected to enter Orthodox society.

What’s the real number of Haredim who serve in the IDF?

According to the Yotzim L’Shinui survey, out of 4,086 Haredi recruits who graduated from the Haredi educational system from the beginning of 2017 to the middle of 2019, 2,108—more than 51%—preferred to join the IDF’s general population tracks rather than serve in a Haredi unit. Only about 49% served in Haredi units.

But here’s a sad bit of data: of the graduates of Haredi institutions who enlisted in the IDF in 2017, 32% were recognized as lone soldiers.

The Yotzim L’Shinui research team in 2021 conducted an in-depth survey involving 271 men and women who had left Haredi society about their first four years after leaving the fold. The survey data show that the education gaps of 57% of respondents and the cultural gaps of 53% were the main barriers in their searching and finding a new job. In addition, 40% of respondents mentioned the lack of employment skills as a barrier to finding work. In addition to those, a sense of alienation in the workplace, the absence of family support, and the lack of employment experience also barred many former-Haredim from succeeding in the job market.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.