Middle East

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel avoid using technological devices in daily life

Jewish people, who strictly observe Jewish religious law, stand out with their lifestyle, traditional clothing

Enes Canli and Turgut Alp Boyraz   | 23.06.2022
Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel avoid using technological devices in daily life


Ultra-Orthodox Jews, by the Hebrew name Haredim, are known for keeping their distance from technological devices such as smart phones, internet, and television.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, speaking to Anadolu Agency in Jerusalem, said they avoid using technological devices as part of their belief system.

Shiele Katz, an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem, said: “The reason is because people get explicit to all these stuff. The kids see not nice things online, and they get addicted to it and it is not good for human beings.”

Another religious Jewish, Yosef Freudigery, also said: “We want to keep modesty in our homes at the best level as possible. So you don’t get funny ideas of funny pictures, referring to pornographic content accessed via internet.

Some also believe that these technological devices in their lives are "a waste of time."

A young ultra-Orthodox Jew, Moshe Gerry, said: “If you are just watching TV and all the rest, it will be a waste of time. You can use your time for better things. And also every single time that you watch, there will not always be appropriate things on.”

Traditional clothing

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are easily noticed in Israel and around the world by their characteristic clothing.

Walking in the Mea She'arim neighborhood, where the Haredim live in West Jerusalem, gives the feeling of walking on to a movie set or traveling through time.

Haredi men particularly stand out with their black clothes, robes, and kippa, as their cloaks and tassels hang from the edges of their trousers.

In Israel, Haredi Jews make up about 12% of Israel's population of around 9 million, and vast majority of the country's Haredi Jews live in the Mea She'arim in the West Jerusalem and the Bnei Brak city, near the capital Tel Aviv.

As their population keeps on rising, Haredim are represented in the Israeli parliament Knesset by the religious parties Shas and the United Torah Judaism.

Most Haredi Jews speak a different language from secular Jews and largely refuse to integrate with the rest of society. Majority of them also refuse to bear arms on the grounds that the Israeli army does not have a suitable environment to practice their religion.

Anadolu Agency asked members of the religious group in Israel why they do wear black clothing and kippah (hat), and have side curls, as well as the relation of their clothes to their beliefs and traditions.

According to Haredim, wearing black is closely associated with the dress code in Western Europe and they maintain this tradition to keep the community spirit alive, avoid showing off, and preserve modesty.

As the "kippah” which they wear on their heads while praying, is a command of the (Jewish) Torah, Haredim said they also wear the kippah in daily life to remind them that God is always with them.

Haredi Jews also said that due to the order of the Torah, Jews should not shave the side curls on the sides of their hair, and some people left their side curls even longer to follow this order more strictly.

The tassels hanging from the sides of their trousers are called "Tzitzit," and these tassels are an order in the Torah that they always keep on with their clothing, they said.

Over a question about why Haredim wear black, Moshe Coup, a 60-year-old Haredi Jew, said: “It is a traditional dress. It is a uniform, a type of uniform. First of all, it means humility.

"What do judges wear when you go to court? Black, this is a privileged and honorable outfit. When an arch pianist gives a concert, he wears black.”

He further said: “It also allows us to show that we are one. We are not showing off. Everyone may look the same from the outside, but the real difference is on the inside. I don't have to express anything to people with my looks or crazy tattoos. We all act in a way that serves God.”

Regarding the purpose of the outfit, Coup said: “Our dress and outer looks should be an expression of our inner (world). … We should always understand that there is a king of the world, a creator of the world, and he runs the world.

"And also that commandments remind us that we should all treat each other as brothers, and treat each other well, in kindness."

Another Haredi Jew said their outfit shows their elegance, adding: “On Saturdays (Sabbath) you can see men in fur hats. These are very expensive but still, symbolize humility.”

As the kippah is another hallmark of Haredim, Shloimi Wasserstrum, said: “God is above us, so by wearing a kippah over our heads, we say, 'God is above all’.”

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