Does the state really support Torah?

Home Coffeeroom Yeshiva / School / College / Education Issues Does the state really support Torah?

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  • #1461413

    MTAB
    Participant

    Just how much does the State actually fund Torah? I did some research. According to gov. figures there are 140,000 yeshiva and kollel students in Israel. So first off I’d like to say that there were more than that many men studying Torah in Eastern Europe. They didn’t do it in yeshivas but they did it in their shtetl. Of say 1 million frum men in the year 1700, hundreds of thousands were studying in the steebelach for sizable portions of the day.

    Secondly, the Israeli gov. gives $2,000 per year to each Israeli yeshiva student. That’s less than half the kollel salary. The other half comes from overseas donations. Plus the buildings comes from overseas donations. Plus the 20,000 students from Chutzah L’aretz bring a lot more money with them, particularly when their families visit. So I estimate that for every $100 that the gov. spends on Torah it gets $500 back into the economy. It’s a money maker. Plus who lives on $2000 a year? It’s a fraction of the living expense, so the money is coming from elsewhere. Why give the State all this credit?

    Your comments?

    #1461463

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    I won’t address your comments about the economics of yeshiva students in current day EY.

    I do highly doubt your statement that hundreds of thousands of each million frum males in 1700s Eastern Europe were spending sizable portions of the day studying in stiebelach in their stetlach. I would suggest that most of them were toiling most of the day attempting to scratch out a living at their restricted means of employment.
    I would challenge you to produce factual evidence to support your claim.

    #1461472

    MTAB
    Participant

    I’m going by what I head from Rabbi Miller. He said when he was in Lithuania before the war, most of the men weren’t working and they spent their days in the shteebel.

    To some extent we project backward on former times. We work 12 hours a day but today that’s in part because we are all urban. In agrarian times, worked stopped at sunset and there wasn’t much to do in the Winter. And there was no TV obviously, no internet or sports. No day trips in the car. There was nothing else to do but go to the beis midrash. There was much more torah study in those days than we think. We have this image that our ancestors were all amei haaretz and we are the big learners. I don’t think it’s correct. After the haskala there was a big problem and after the holocaust. but in 1700 it was a different story.

    #1461517

    Avi K
    Participant

    MTAB,
    1. You are counting the Eastern European men who learned after work but not the Israelis who do. That is fake statistics.
    2. Just before the war there was massive involuntary unemployment among Jews because of economic boycotts. This canot be compared to unemployment by choice.
    4. The State also subsidizes yeshivot, kollelim and learning programs for retirees directly. Not to mention State Religious and Chinuch Atzmai school, religious councils, neighborhood, town and city rabbis.

    #1461600

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Posting about the year 1700 in Eastery Europe, and when challenged relating a story from 1930s Lithuania is nonsense. You can’t extrapolate from Vilna in 1936 to a village in Galicia in 1700.

    #1461620

    MTAB
    Participant

    “Posting about the year 1700 in Eastery Europe, and when challenged relating a story from 1930s Lithuania is nonsense. You can’t extrapolate from Vilna in 1936 to a village in Galicia in 1700.”

    I made several points and that’s the one you comment on? Interesting.

    The main point is that in rural societies there isn’t much to do in Winter and after dark. Particularly back then, so they all went to the beis midrash. What we see from R’ Miller’s observation is how Torah was the national pastime back then, not soccer, not facebook .

    #1461621

    MTAB
    Participant

    “1. You are counting the Eastern European men who learned after work but not the Israelis who do. That is fake statistics.”

    not fake statistics. there were 4 million frum people back then, Israel has what 1.2 million, and we have so many diversions at night, particular the dati leumi world, the shuls are pretty much empty at night

    #1461642

    Phil
    Participant

    “I’m going by what I head from Rabbi Miller. He said when he was in Lithuania before the war, most of the men weren’t working and they spent their days in the shteebel.”

    So? R. Miller also wrote that when he was in Slabodka, chilul Shabbos was so rampant that the public transportation, which ran every few minutes to nearby Kovno, was full of Jews going to work in the morning.

    You can’t prove anything from how things were in Europe.

    #1461696

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @mtab
    Yes, the point that you made statements about 1700 in Eastern Europe and have absolutely no facts to bact it up is what I addressed.
    To be perfectly honest, I pay no taxes to the Israeli government and therefore have no opinion on how they spent their revenue. That is for the Israeli voters to decide by electing MKs who support what the voters want.

    Rav Miller may have been a brilliant man, but he visited Lithuania in the 1930s, that’s 203+ years after 1700.
    I don’t know what my ancestors were doing in 1700, but I do have full records from 1812 on in Suwalki Province (Poland/Lithuania/Russian Empire) and in the Shtetl of Sapotzske in what is now Belarus. The males worked in the horse, cattle and leather tanning business. They worked full time from Bar Mitzvah age on. They were typical observant poor Jews who did not have the luxury of learning all day, they worked dawn to dusk scratching out a living. It was only after arrival in NY in the 1860s and early 1870s that time for regular learning at night after work came about. No one learned full time until after WWI, when my father’s youngest uncle learned for 2 years after graduating public High School in Brownsville.
    As for my Yekke side, they were city people who arrived in NY in the 1860s. In Germany they had attended Gymnasium and medical school. Life in Big city Germany was far different from an Eastern European shtetl.

    #1461750

    Avi K
    Participant

    MTAB,
    1. Who says that there were 4 million frum Jews in Europe before the Holocaust? The Yevsektziot put a stop to Jewish religious life in the Soviet Union. Poland had 3.3 million Jews, many of whom were non-observant and even anti-reliigous (e.g. the Bundists). Many of the frum were women and children. Germany only had half a million, most of whom were assimilated, as were many in Czechoslavakia and Romania.
    2. Who says that DL men do not learn? DL men learn in many iunformal settings such as shiurim on the Internet.

    #1461757

    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    “The main point is that in rural societies there isn’t much to do in Winter and after dark. ”
    But Jews were not part of the rural society- they were not allowed to own land, and they were not working the land- that was what the peasants did. They were mostly traders, shopkeepers and craftsmen, their work was not seasonal like farming. If you could afford candles, then you could continue making shoes- or learning – into the night.
    I don’t understand the argument though- what does the number of Jews learning in shteibels 100 years ago have to do with how many Jews are learning in Yeshivos in E”Y right now? How does the fact that there may or may not have been more people learning Torah back then impact on how much the Israeli govt is paying the 140,000 yeshiva/Kollel men now?

    #1461789

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Most jews left rural europe because of economic conditions, you couldnt feed your family. They either went to the US or the Big cities of Europe. I think Vienna is a perfect example. There were about 10,000 jews in Vienna in 1800. In 1939 there were 180,000. Similar statistics were elsewhere as well

    #1461857

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @zd
    Your point about leaving rural areas for the cities is true among all European people, NOT just Jews. You write of the urban migration of the Industrial revolution of the 1800s.

    @WTP
    In the early 1900s Jewish farming colonies were established in NJ and CT for those Eastern European Jewish poor who managed to get to America. These were great failures because in general, except for keeping a few chickens for eggs and a kitchen garden, these village Jews were not farmers.

    #1461866

    akuperma
    Participant

    Which “state” do you refer to. If you mean Medinat Yisrael, the obvious answer is “NO”. Israel is a secular state whose stated goal is to build a country free from the yoke of Torah. That, alone, is the raison d’etre.

    If you mean a “generic” state, the answer is “perhaps indirectly” is in a given country they have entitlemenet policies that benefit frum Jews such as American food stamps and medicaid that benefit the Torah world even though that was not the government’s intention.

    #1461974

    Phil
    Participant

    “Which “state” do you refer to. If you mean Medinat Yisrael, the obvious answer is “NO”. Israel is a secular state whose stated goal is to build a country free from the yoke of Torah. That, alone, is the raison d’etre.”

    So the USA, which indirectly supports Torah through the welfare system, deserves our gratitude but the State of Israel, which does so directly by supporting people who learn, doesn’t? Despite everything the State does and has done, it can simply be labeled as anti-Torah and therefore no longer deserving of our gratitude? If the hallmark of a Jew is gratitude, it’s such ungrateful people who are free of the yoke of Torah, not the State.

    #1462005

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    In the 1700s, most Jewish people were actually illiterate. That was why the Baal Shem Tov completely departed from traditional Judaism, and founded Chassidus. He felt that since Jews weren’t capable of learning Torah, they needed a different way to serve Hashem. So no, most people in the 1700s in Eastern Europe did not spend hours per day learning.
    Besides, if you’re going to count that, then shouldn’t you count the baal habatim in Israel now who learn Daf Yomi, who attend shiurim in the morning and evening, but thankfully don’t need government assistance to live?

    #1462055

    Haimy
    Participant

    The state does support Torah but it’s against it does so against it’s will. The majority of Israelis wouldn’t want a dime going to support a yeshiva or kollel. It is only because of the unified voting block of the chareidim that the state begrudgingly gives funding.
    In hilchos tzadaka it states that if you give tzadaka unwillingly, you lose all your reward.

    #1462062

    Joseph
    Participant

    DaMoshe, never in Jewish history have most Jewish men been “illiterate”. Never. Jews have been the most literate people throughout history. It’s in our DNA and it is our railson d’etre.

    #1462141

    Phil
    Participant

    “In hilchos tzadaka it states that if you give tzadaka unwillingly, you lose all your reward.”

    Supporting able-bodied people who choose to learn instead of work does not qualify as tzedaka, which one is obligated to give. It’s considered instead “hachzokas haTorah”, which is not mandatory.

    It’s a very sad situation when Jews can accept support from other Jews and not even have the slightest feeling of gratitude. It raises serious questions about their supposed learning.

    #1462166

    Takes2-2tango
    Participant

    Haimy:In hilchos tzadaka it states that if you give tzadaka unwillingly, you lose all your reward.
    ——————————-
    Firstly its not tzedaka when u give to people who choose to be poor.
    Secondly, when halacho discusses about giving tzedaka unwillingly its refering to an individual. Not to an entity or state which israel is. Iarael is not a person.stop hocking already.
    You make yourself sound dumber then dumb.

    #1462172

    Toi
    Participant

    DaMoshe- The Baal Sham Tov started Chassidism to make the disenfranchised amaaratzim feel good about themselves, and feel choshuv, while allowing them to stay amaaratzim. Traditional Judaism put an emphasis on learning and knowing Torah, while he taught about connection the fervent prayer and love.

    #1462189

    Haimy
    Participant

    The State as representing most of the Israeli population would be thrilled if every Yeshiva & Kollel closed & the talmidim would join the army as patriotic citizens. They have no interest in supporting Torah at all. Chareidim are an unwanted group of Jews stopping chilonim from shopping on Shabbos, marrying non Jews, importing chazer, recognising alternative lifestyles, & are a financial strain on the rest of society.
    We should have hakoras hatov to Hashem that the state funds so much Torah. We should also show appreciation to the chilonim even if they aren’t interested in being forced to support us.

    #1462199

    Joseph
    Participant

    If the Israeli government subsidizes secular schools and universities with tax dollars, frum Israeli taxpayers have every right to expect the government to similarly subsidize yeshivos and Kollels. That is equity for taxpayers, nothing more than their own tax dollars going to support their own schools just as the secular tax dollars go to support secular schools. Anything other than the government giving money to yeshivos while they give to secular schools would be government theft from the frum. That they aren’t thieves doesn’t make the government especially righteous.

    #1462200

    Haimy
    Participant

    Supporting Yeshivos & Kollelim is certainly included in mitzvas tzdaka. Talmidei chachomim are permitted to accept charity so that they can sit & learn Torah. Using Maaser for jachzokas Hatorah is one of the best ways to give tzedaka. A significant amount of hilchos tzedaka is dedicated to the laws of the communal responsibility to provide sustenance to the poor. It’s not just a private enterprise. The state of Israel is not interested in supporting Torah or feeding talmidei chachomim. The political class wants the chareidi votes so they agree to give the yeshivos money.

    #1462237

    Phil
    Participant

    “If the Israeli government subsidizes secular schools and universities with tax dollars, frum Israeli taxpayers have every right to expect the government to similarly subsidize yeshivos and Kollels.”

    If the Israeli government subsidized all institutions in proportion with the percentage that their constituents paid in taxes, yeshivos and kolellim would receive a tiny percentage of their current allocations. Instead, secular men and women work hard and are taxed to support yeshivos and kolellim well beyond the taxes that charedi men and women contribute. Instead of constantly thumbing your nose at all non-charedim and expecting more and more from them, how about a bit of overdue gratitude instead? It might go a long way to heal some of the hatred that charedim always insist is being directed towards them.

    #1462254

    Joseph
    Participant

    Phil, Israeli universities receive far far more financial aid, proportionally to their population and in terms of real shekels, compared to the frum community and yeshivos. So yeshivos in Israel are already being shortchanged. The universities and their students are the ones that should be thanking the frum, who don’t use those schools yet are taxed for them all the same while their own yeshivos receive less.

    #1462292

    Phil
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Charedim and their institutions receive far more financial aid, proportionately to their population and in terms of real shekels, compared to the secular and their institutions. Charedim comprise 12% of the population, only 13% of their men have a high-school education, only 50% of their men work and 45% of their households live below the poverty line. So the hard-working secular in Israel can argue that they’re being shortchanged. The charedim are the ones that should be thanking the secular, whom they spit on at every opportunity, while they are being taxed to support them all the same.

    #1462296

    Avi K
    Participant

    Akuperma, on the contrary. Israel has a basic law (“basic laws” form a quasi-constituional framework) that gives Jewish law standing (and many judges, even those who are not so observant, use it in their opinions), the Ministry of Justice has a Jewish Law division headed by a Dep. AG that coments on proposed laws, the Knesset has an advisor on Jewish law (I happen to know him personally) and individual MKs have rabbanim as advisors.

    Haimy, who says that you lose all your reward? It only says that that is the lowest level. Hopefully it will lead to wilingnesas the person will get used to giving. However, the highest level is to give someone a productive job. Getting something for nothing is called “bread of shame”. While rabbanim and their talmidim should be supported not everyone can take the name. Many are just lolling about while officially registered because of social pressure. Some fall into the “shabab Charedi” (street kids who commit low-level crimes) because they have no outlet for their energies. The best thing all around would be for them to serve in the IDF and then get jobs. This also goes for those who are learning at some level but will not be rabbanim and r”mim. They can put their analytical skills to good use in military intelligence and then go into high-tech (this industry is crying for skilled workers such thatt here is talk of bringing in foreign workers from India). This would also allow the State to give more to those who are really deserving.

    Joseph, universities also have to produce. The rule for professors is “publish or perish”. For students there are exams and those who do not make the grade are out.

    #1462300

    Joseph
    Participant

    Phil, Israeli universities are subsidized by the government far far more per student than Israeli Kollels are. The Chareidim are getting a raw deal. Their same taxpayer shekels subsidize the universities while their own Kollels receive far far less.

    #1462629

    Phil
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Charedi institutions are subsidized by the government out of proportion with the taxes they pay. The secular can legitimately argue that they’re getting a raw deal. They work hard and are taxed to pay for those who don’t have even high school educations, don’t work, live below the poverty line and therefore don’t pay taxes.

    #1462665

    Joseph
    Participant

    Phil, that’s factually incorrect. Chareidim receive far less higher education shekels proportion to both their population and in proportion to their taxes than the seculars who receive far far higher government subsidies per student at their universities than the frum receive per student for kollel. That university students receive far more than kollel students is easily verifiable information from Israeli government data and laws.

    But lets put aside your mistaken facts and assume you had been correct that Chareidim get more in proportion to the taxes they pay. You could say the exact same point about the poor. The poor receive far more government subsidies in proportion to the taxes they pay than the middle class do. So Phil’s “solution” to that “problem” would be to take away government subsidies to the poor, things like food for children, housing assistance, etc., in order to make it “fairer” to the middle class who don’t receive as much government monetary assistance; especially in proportion to taxes paid, as the middle class pay more tax shekels than the poor pay in taxes.

    Great point, Phil. Not to even broach the additional subject of your complete and utter ignoring what Torah learners, especially those who learn Torah full time, do to support and protect Israel and the Jews. Any one of they do far far more in one day than any university student does in four years at college.

    #1462705

    Phil
    Participant

    Joseph,

    It doesn’t take very long for you to turn nasty, does it?

    I never denied the spiritual value of what Torah learners contribute, nor did I recommend decreasing their government funding by even a single Shekel. The topic of this thread is State support and gratitude. The secular can legitimately argue that most graduates of their institutions go to work and pay taxes, while most graduates of Charedi institutions don’t.

    The usual tripe that the State hates Torah, doesn’t contribute enough to Charedim and therefore doesn’t deserve any gratitude whatsoever is wrong and counterproductive.

    #1462729

    Joseph
    Participant

    The frum can legitimately argue that most graduates of their institutions go to learn Torah (and pay taxes, but that’s a side point), while most graduates of secular institutions don’t.

    Where is the secular gratitude for the frum? Especially for those who engage in Limud Torah full time.

    And as stated, the seculars receive far more government monetary benefits.

    #1462754

    Phil
    Participant

    “And as stated, the seculars receive far more government monetary benefits.”

    Repeating this again and again won’t make it true. The secular are more educated and represented in the workforce, pay more in taxes and receive less benefit than the charedim do.

    In regards to secular gratitude, you can’t expect those who aren’t raised with Torah to innately appreciate its benefits. They need to be taught by example and with love. Rioting, spitting, name-calling and demanding are not effective teaching tools.

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