“If it looks like a Zionist, and smells like a Zionist, and walks like a Zionist, then it’s probably a Zionist,” says Daniel Goldman about Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community. Goldman is a businessman, philanthropist and activist, who currently focuses his attention on integrating Haredi Israelis into Israel’s economic life.
According to findings of surveys conducted by The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), a majority of Israelis rank Haredi Israelis at the bottom when asked about the contribution different groups or sectors make to Israel’s success. This, says Goldman, hurts Haredi Israelis. He believes that the Haredi community is undergoing “tectonic shifts.” He also believes that it has a lot of positive things it can contribute to Israel’s culture, such as “the values of family, the values of education, the values of helping one another.” JPPI studies show that Haredi Israelis are more prone than other Israelis to give Tzedakah and do volunteer work.
The dialogue with Goldman is the second in a series of conversations conducted with Israeli intellectuals, to discuss the findings and the analysis presented in a new book: #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution. The book is based on the work of JPPI, and was coauthored by Shmuel Rosner, a JPPI senior fellow and Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University. The English translation was published recently and provides us with an opportunity to both present the unique nature of Israeli Judaism to the broader world, and to discuss its future and the implications for world Jewry.
The discussion with Goldman focuses on the ultra-Orthodox community and the unique challenges it faces.