Ultra-Orthodox: 50 shades of black

It is incumbent on the non-ultra-Orthodox to reach out to the Haredim with wisdom, understanding and patience to gently encourage integrating their young people into modern life.

By SHLOMO MAITAL
January 24, 2018 16:58
Haredi men hold on to their hats on a windy day in Jerusalem

Haredi men hold on to their hats on a windy day in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Cowboys! In the small Western Canadian community where I was born and raised, this was the denigrating name given to the ultra-Orthodox shlichim (emissaries) who often came to ask for money. The image was based on the wide-brimmed black hats they often wore and still wear today and has morphed into today’s “black hats.”

Not much has changed in more than 50 years. The Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) are still widely scorned and shunned by secular Jews in Israel and abroad, and their closed lifestyles and rigid values are also widely misunderstood.

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