We live at a critical juncture for Israel’s Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox). Numbering roughly one million nationwide, this community is centered in Jerusalem, home to 300,000 Haredim, and is growing at a rapid rate – while only one-ninth of Israelis are Haredi, nearly one-third of first-graders are. In many ways, what happens in Haredi society will define the future of Israel as a whole. Competition for the future direction of the community is characterized by two competing trends – an isolationist one that dominates the headlines through large-scale protests and actions, and an integrationist one, primarily driven by the desire to escape poverty and join the middle class.
For the last two years, fifteen leaders of the integrationist trend have been meeting under the leadership of Shaharit’s Racheli Ibenboim in order to unify their disparate efforts into a defined integrationist “camp.” Utilizing the language of responsibility and solidarity, our Haredi Leadership Projects seeks to create grassroots change from within the community, cultivating significant cadres of integrationist-minded leaders and activists in order to tip the scales towards the integrationist trend.
The work of the project is divided into the following three areas – formulating ideas, cultivating leadership, and enabling activists to enact change.