Are Israel's ultra-Orthodox schools following Jewish values?

Ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi leaders of rabbinical schools discriminate against Mizrahi students because they fear a more open-minded influence on their conservative educational system.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children sit in class at the Shomrei HaHoma Torah School for boys in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood, Nov. 9, 2010. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

In 1982, Rabbi Nissim Ze’ev of Jerusalem wanted to register his daughter at an Ashkenazi seminar for girls. He applied to a prestigious girls-only ultra-Orthodox middle school but was turned down. Ze’ev was taken by surprise. At the time, he was already considered a well-known figure within ultra-Orthodox circles, having served as a rabbi both in Mexico and New York. He then realized that the problem stemmed from his family’s Mizrahi origins; he was born in Jerusalem to parents who emigrated from Arab countries. And so, Ze’ev decided to create a school in which girls from Mizrahi families would be accepted. When he tried to raise money from the Jerusalem against the very community it is supposed to represent.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Al-Monitor

Al-Monitor5 min read
Lebanon University Strike Threatens Students’ Futures
As the Lebanese parliament is considering austerity measures that would see public wages slashed, the Lebanese University continues its open-ended strike, with students missing classes for weeks now.
Al-Monitor5 min readPolitics
Which Road Will Israel’s New Justice Minister Take?
Justice Minister Amir Ohana has the opportunity to engage Israeli Supreme Court justices in a dialogue that could ultimately benefit the entire judicial system, but he might just as well continue to attack the court in ways pleasing to the person who
Al-Monitor3 min readTech
Iranian Public Outrage Forces 'Correction' Of Kindergarten Directive
Amid widespread public outrage, Iranian authorities had to revise an official order that sought to ban religious minorities from teaching at government-run kindergartens.