The Haredi Institute for Public Affairs conducted a session at the Wexner Annual Conference, on the subject “The Haredi Community as an Opportunity”. The session was opened by Avinoam Armoni, a member of the Institute’s Advisory Board. Armoni introduced the Institute and described its activities in conducting integrative research studies on areas of mutual concern for the Haredi and non-Haredi populations. Eli Paley, Chairman of the Institute and Nitsa (Kaliner) Kasir, Vice Chair of the Institute, partook in a panel discussion.
Haredi Economics – Values, Consumption, Communal Mechanisms and More
Nitsa (Kaliner) Kasir presented an in-depth look at Haredi economics and poverty yardsticks, through the context of understanding social mechanisms and additional characteristics unique to the Haredi community.
One of her presentations showed the poverty rates of the various population groups and highlighted the “poverty paradox” that exists in the Haredi community in which on one hand, 60% Haredi individuals belong to a low economic bracket according to the poverty index, but on the other hand less than 30% reported discontentment with their financial status. Kasir analyzed the values and dynamics of the Haredi community which lead to these paradoxical data including: less household earners due to a conscious choice to study Torah rather than working, lack of qualified training for the workforce and large family sizes.
In the second part of the presentation, participants got an overview of the Haredi community’s approach to consumerism: making do with little and managing to put away savings.
Tapping into Opportunities in the Haredi Community
Eli Paley shared perspective on the wide range of businesses active in Haredi commerce, as reflected in the economy and business columns in the Mishpacha magazine. Contrary to popular perception, Paley contended that the Haredi business world is brimming with prosperous enterprises that are dramatically impacting Israeli economy.
He presented various intriguing opportunities in the Haredi human capital, vis-à-vis matters related to homeland security, war preparedness, and cyber and intelligence technology.
“If the system will know how to invest in Haredi human capital,” he explained, “it will receive significant contributions towards security challenges and hi-tech advancement.”