Psychometric exam goes 'kosher l'mehadrin'

"Kosher doesn't only pertain to the things we put in our mouths."

Haredi training 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Haredi training 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A program has been developed to help religious and haredi students prepare for the psychometric examination - the standardized entrance exam for the country's universities and academic colleges - by removing content they might deem immodest or offensive. The initiative comes from the Institute for the Kosher l'Mehadrin Psychometric Exam, established by Rabbi Chaim Fogel, a Jerusalem-based rabbi involved in a number of educational initiatives and institutions. "Kosher doesn't only pertain to the things we put in our mouths," Fogel told The Jerusalem Post by telephone last week. "It has to do with the things we're putting in our minds as well, because the mind is a delicate and highly spiritual realm. "That being said, more and more businesses and institutions are opening up to the religious community and more and more members of the religious community are expressing interest in entering the workforce, which they need an academic education for. So to get into a college or a university, they must take the psychometric examination, which in its normal form is not necessarily suitable for them." Therefore, Fogel developed a psychometric exam that is "kosher l'mehadrin" - a label referring to the highest level of kashrut - which removes from the test any mention of sexual promiscuity, violence and other content deemed destructive or degrading towards the Torah and a religious way of life. "We put an emphasis on modesty," Fogel said. "And we looked over the old test and changed subjects that some the questions revolved around. The basis of the questions - what it is they're actually asking - has not been altered in any way." The textbooks designed to prepare for the exam have been "koshered" as well, and the classes are held separately for men and women. Staff members from the institute, along with an educational adviser, aided in censoring the materials, rendering them fit for the religious community. "We've subsidized the program financially as well," Fogel added. "The overall price for the courses and the exam stand at half the regular price for such courses." The initiative was instituted not only to encourage the integration of the religious and haredi community into the Israeli workforce, Fogel said, but to be referenced by other religious and haredi educational institutions, in order to raise the educational level in those institutions. "Like I said, the word 'kosher' doesn't just have to do with milk and meat," Fogel said. "It pertains to all aspects of life, including the psychometric exam."