Mea Shearim

There are major societal strains between the religious and secular community in Israel. The Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem is one of the original “ultra-Orthodox” or “Haredi” communities in Israel. Haredi follow a strict interpretation of adherence to religious doctrine. This is demonstrated in distinctive dress, appearance, and lifestyle. Haredi men commit themselves to a life of studying Torah, or the Jewish bible.

The Israeli government provides income subsidies for these families, enabling most Haredis to not work outside of their religious studies, and also exempting from military service, compulsory for all other Jewish citizens of Israel. Large family sizes are causing religious communities to grow at a rapid rate. Haredim currently make up 10% of Israel’s population, but Haredi children represent 26% of kindergarten admissions.

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