Ultra-Orthodox make inroads to university

Twelve new ultra-Orthodox students will soon be gracing the halls of Haifa's Technion after completing the first-ever special tertiary studies preparatory course for the ultra-Orthodox, reports www.local.co.il. The 12 were part of a class of 30 in a new project designed to prepare ultra-Orthodox young adults who had never been exposed to general education for the demands of university courses. According to the report, industrialist Eitan Wertheimer funded the course and will continue to fund the further studies of the successful 12 at the Technion, paying their tuition fees and providing them with monthly stipends and accommodation until the completion of their studies. The report said that Wertheimer is also funding a similar project for young Arabs from 40 towns around Israel. In that project, 50 out of the 75 students recently successfully completed the preparatory course and will go on to tertiary studies at the Technion. One of the successful ultra-Orthodox students, who will be studying civil and environmental engineering, said he had grown up in Bnei Brak and had received almost no general education, learning only basic mathematics and never having studied physics or English. He said he had reached a stage in his life during which he realized he could not study Torah all day and needed to do something more, when he saw a newspaper advertisement for the special course and immediately signed up for it. "Our English teacher told us, 'You are making history. This is the first time in the Technion that we are teaching the ABC's," the student said. The report made no mention whether any further such projects are planned.