Orthodox Jews are allowed to be astronauts

Ultra-Orthodox dropouts"As if moving from Iran to Australia"

A window of a yeshiva is open in the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City. In this religious school, even little boys learn the mitzvot, the laws of God. In addition to the family, the rabbis and the religious school in particular provide the social framework for ultra-orthodox. That's what Yair Hass says, he heads the Jewish student organization Hillel, a contact point for ultra-orthodox who want to get out of their community.

"The greatest difficulty for dropouts is to be on their own for the first time. And then comes the shock of the great cultural difference between the two worlds. They come from a society in which every step is prescribed into an absolutely free one World. They have not learned either English or math in their lives, and that poses major problems for them if they want to gain a foothold in a career.

Difficulties in social life

Yair Hass used to be a devout Jew himself. He has now arrived in Israeli society, has a job and a family. Not every dropout succeeds in this, many get into debt, have experience with drugs, and the suicide rate is higher than the Israeli average. Yet hatred believes that going back is not an option.

"Because of the poverty. The men visit the yeshiva during the day. The women sometimes earn a little extra, but are primarily occupied with raising their children. The money is not enough back and forth. There is support from the state, but it is not more than a handout. Many families therefore live in poverty. "

Shai Azulay can confirm that. The 28-year-old grew up in an ultra-orthodox family and they had ten children at home. The father went to the yeshiva, the religious school, every day. One of the photos shows Shai as a withdrawn, pale man with a black hat and glasses. Today he wears a checked shirt and jeans and talks about the difficulties after his exit.

"For the first six months I couldn't find a job. Because I still spoke Yiddish, people said that I spoke strangely. That I behaved strangely, dressed strangely and even the way I moved was in theirs Strange eyes. I had no chance of a job. "

Around 800,000 strictly religious Jews live in Israel - that is about every tenth Israeli. The rabbis set the rules, the charedim, the godly, follow them.

"The rabbi doesn't even have to say that girls are not allowed to be touched. Girls and boys are separated from the Charedim from an early age. That's why the first encounter with girls was very exciting. So exciting that I stuttered the whole time. But for the first time I understood that I can have feelings. When I went to a bar for the first time, I didn't know what to do when a girl smiles at me. It was a very frustrating time. "

Turning away from the ultra-orthodox

Today Shai lives with his girlfriend in a student residence in Jerusalem. He calls her parents father and mother. He is studying social work, but first had to graduate from school.

"Today I only believe in myself. I've traveled to countries like Holland, Thailand, New Zealand, Germany and Belgium. And a hamburger with cheese and pork even on the highest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, is perfectly fine."

Kobi Brillmann has also come to an end with his ultra-orthodox past. He got married and did military service against his father's wishes. His father rejects the state of Israel, he believes that only the Messiah will create a Jewish state.

"There is a kind of revolution in the strictly religious community. More and more young people want to do military service. Meanwhile, more and more parents accept that. Even if the children have lost their way in their eyes. The hard core, however, continues to demonize military service."

After leaving the ultra-orthodox, Kobi is now wearing a kippah again. He lives in an Orthodox settlement and is now critical of the Hillel organization.

"Hillel is in its own way radical like the strict believers. They reject everything strictly religious. They disregarded the Jewish dietary laws. That drove me insane, other views were not accepted here either. That's why I don't think much of Hillel."

"Leave the door open"

The Western Wall in Jerusalem. On the left the men pray, on the right the women, they are separated by a wall. Schmuel Rabinowitz has his office next door. What does the Wailing Wall rabbi think of Hillel - an organization that helped around 200 ultra-Orthodox Jews get out in the last year alone?

"If someone no longer wants to live in his community, then it is good to be helped. I have a problem with it when someone does not see the light of God and does not realize how good it is to keep the Jewish laws. And when if someone wants to leave, then he should do so. But we have to keep loving him because he is a Jew. And you always have to leave the door open for him if he wants to come back. "

Shai cannot imagine returning. He is secular and does not keep the Sabbath either. Nevertheless, he would not necessarily recommend the exit.

"If someone in my family asked me today whether they should get out of the strictly religious community, then I would advise against them. Because you have to be clear: It's like emigrating, like moving from Iran to Australia. And if you do if someone feels comfortable with the Charedim, then they should stay there. After leaving, I initially felt completely alien and not like part of a nation or religious community. "