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Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 9190501

tel. 972.2.5494950

Meet Our Fellows 2016-17

Nechumi Yaffe

Faculty of Social Sciences.

Research Topic

Poverty in the Ultra-Orthodox Community.

Research Summary

Nechumi Yaffe's dissertation examine the issue of poverty and disadvantage in the Ultra-Orthodox community using the "Theory of Capabilities and Functions" (sen 1992; Nussbaum, 1997). The theory postulate that the most exact and comprehensive way to measure poverty is through an examination of the overall functions and capabilities that are available to the individual. This measurement reflects the totality of the real opportunities available to people in a given society. This approach is consistent with the unique nature of the "orthodox poor" because it initially does not set the proper and good of humans, but focuses on the universal base that can adapt itself culturally. In this way, the unique nature of the Ultra-Orthodox poverty can be discovered as well as the unique important functions to this community and in accordance with the shortfall that characterizes the state of poverty. In addition, the dissertation will examine poverty from the social psychology prospective answering the question of why poverty rates in the Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel are significantly higher than Orthodox communities around the world. The hypothesis is that the Haredi society in Israel is conducted in context of power relations in the face of secular society that presents an alternative to Jewish existence that is not bound to traditional religious law, and produces a struggle for Jewish identity. The hypothesis therefore is that part of the ongoing Haredi poverty is partly due to the value and importance that many ultra-Orthodox members' attach to the message inherent in being a spiritual society, whose members are less bound to the physical world.