One-fifth of religious students will become irreligious

Educational conference discusses ways of revamping religious education in light of increasing trend of children leaving religious lifestyle.


Efrata College Academic Council Chair Professor Manny Koslovsky expects that a full fifth of Religious Zionist students will become irreligious.

Efrata is a religious teachers’ college in Jerusalem.

In an Efrata conference on education, Koslovsky said that the situation in the haredi community is also “complex,” with some researches showing that one out of every ten haredi children will become irreligious.

Among the newly irreligious, suicide rates have risen, Koslovsky said. He posits that this could be because of the loneliness they feel and the disappointments they find the secular world to hold.

College President Professor Shmuel Sandlar explained during the conference that “as a religious teacher training college, we have an obligation to deal with the trend of children becoming irreligious. As individuals, we must embrace these children, without compromising the values of religious education.”

The conference also discussed the connection between learning Talmud in yeshivas, and students becoming irreligious. Rabbi Dr. Dani Gutnamker explained how he would connect the Talmud to the students’ lives.

Yehuda Eliraz, who also deals with the topic, said high school yeshivas need to stop teaching so many hours of dry Talmud.

Eliraz said that the Talmud needs to be learned as a subject which develops analytical thinking, but it also needs to provide students with a religious and spiritual experience. When this does not happen, he explained, it can cause students to hate Talmud study.

August 3, 2017 | 9 Comments » | 430 views

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. Education cures superstition, apparently even a religious education. That’s a good thing.

    As for suicides, this doesn’t match studies on the topic. Crime, suicide, teen pregnancy etc tend to be higher among the religious than the non-religious. Me thinks the Rabbi is guilty of wishful thinking.

  2. In regard to suicide rates of the newly irreligious, it was blamed on the loneliness of the secular life. There is much more to it than that. Often, the religious upbringing does not strengthen the child’s self image and ability to deal with frustration etc. Personally I’ve seen Orthodox develop mental illness, which the obsessiveness of following halachah fits right in with. Religious upbringing entails burdening people with ideas that are driven into them and later appear contradictory to real life. There are too many DONTs, without adequate reasoning as to the need for such DONTs. People are not strengthened but are actually weakened when taught so many laws without teaching kids to derive the laws for themselves. What was true for people 1000s of years ago might not be true today. There are many reasons for suicide; don’t blame secular society. In truth, the secular are probably much healthier mentally..

  3. The perennial non-issue, in my opinion. If you google it, you will also find articles about the secular becoming religious.

    “Why Orthodox Judaism Is Appealing to So Many Millennials
    Young Americans might be leaving religion in large numbers, but for some, rules, ritual, and tradition are attractive ways to find meaning in daily life.’

    “A greater proportion of Jews in their 20s and early 30s identify as Orthodox than do Jews over the age of 50; the opposite is true of every other Jewish movement.”
    EMMA GREEN MAR 31, 2016


    > Removing stumbling blocks to Jewish identity
    > Should Israeli law permit civil marriage?

    “Why are a majority of young national religious Jews in Israel becoming more secular?

    “Janet Berg
    Janet Berg, lives in Israel
    Answered May 17”
    “The question links us to an article about “the findings of the new survey, titled ‘Demography of Religiosity’ ” ostensibly from “a study conducted by the Chotam organization”. I was unable to find the actual study anywhere on the net. I also was unable to find any mention of it on the Chotam website. The article refers to the “researcher Michael Zalba” but later refers to him as “Zlava”. I was unable to find any information on this person (under either name) or his writings. The article says this researcher relied on CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics?) surveys without giving any clue as to which surveys. I was unable to find any surveys on the CBS website relating to the subject of the article (“a large proportion of the ‘knitted’ public [modern orthodox] choose to abandon their parents’ spiritual path when they reach adolescence”). If anyone can can find these first-hand sources, please do link us to them.

    ‘Surveys are often very misleading because of the way the questions are formulated. If we could see the actual survey, we would be able to judge for ourselves the validity of the conclusions.

    ‘My own personal experience as someone living in Israel is that young national religious Jews in Israel are certainly not “becoming more secular”. If anything, the opposite is true. I think most people in Israel would agree. In fact, there is a profound and flourishing renewed interest in Judaism on the part of secular Israelis in Israel ”

  4. “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics” – Benjamin Disraeli as told by Mark Twain

    irreverent humor, skip if reverent:

    “History of the World Part 1 (Mel Brooks) – Old Testament – Moses – Ten Commandments”

  5. “Don’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you; they may have different tastes.” – George Bernard Shaw

  6. Thanks, Sebastien, for pointing out the lack of documentary evidence for the existence of this supposed poll. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, if the supposed “findings” are roughly accurate, even if they are based on pure guesswork rather than any real evidence. According to some other study of American Jewry that I once read, 51 per cent of adult American Jews who were raised in Orthodox, observant families have ceased to be Orthodox. Drop-out rates are equally high for most Christian churches, although their level and difficulty of observance is much lower than in Orthodox Judaism (all you have to do is go to church once a week or so). The reality is that modern life and technology, particularly in wealthy countries with a high standard of living, create enormous temptations to lead a self-indulgent, consumer oriented lifestyle that is inconsistent with religious faith and the discipline, even sometimes self-denial, that it requires. On the other hand, I think that those with the self-discipline to observe traditional Judaism are likely to be much happier than those Jews who lead purely secular lives. I doubt very much if they have a higher suicide rate than other Jews. I suspect that the reverse is the case.

  7. @ adamdalgliesh:
    From the time of our previous discussion of Communism and the Soviet Union under Stalin, I was looking for this on my bookshelf and finally found it. I discovered it in the bibliography to one of David Horowitz’s books. Really a priceless but little known work that sheds a lot of light on the intellectually fraudulent foundations of today’s Progressive movement.

    “The New Left and the Origins of the Cold War” by Robert James Maddox. Princeton University Press. Princeton and London. 1973.

    Terrific film, by the way about Brezhnev’s persecution of the Jews and aftermath. Comedy. kind of a cross between that and “100 Men and a girl” Deanna Durbin.

    The Concert (2009)
    France. Dir. Radu Mihaileanu

    On Amazon Instant Video.

    They also have it in DVD.

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