Hasidism And Higher Education: Do They Clash?

540 words - 2 pages

Hasidism and Higher Education; do they Clash?
When Hasidim, who belong to an ultra-pious movement within Orthodox Judaism, immigrated during the post World War ll era in large numbers to America, they sought to build a community similar to the European Shtetl culture to which they were accustomed. In the Shtetl they had lived a traditional and insular lifestyle. Hasidic leaders of the new immigrants founded communities that shunned contemporary Western Culture. Their successors continue to lead the mainstream Hasidic establishment with the same ideals. The only contact with society at large these communities accept is the contact that is necessary for them to nourish themselves.
Pursuing any form of higher education is frowned upon in Hasidic Circles. However, this should not be the case. While fifty or sixty years ago going to college was a mere advantage reserved for the elite, current market shifts have made a college education essential for one’s self sufficiency. Market globalization, and automated technology which took the place of many jobs once done by humans, have made a scarce marketplace even tougher. The demand for untrained labor continues to shrink. In addition, the cost of living has risen dramatically, but the salary for entry level jobs has not risen comparatively. Although some of the earlier generation of American Hasidim turned into wealthy entrepreneurs, they built their wealth under different circumstances. They worked hard in order to amass capital. Once they had amassed a substantial amount of savings they were able to invest in high return businesses like the diamond and real estate industries. However, with...

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