In recent years, scholars have noted dramatic changes in ultra-Orthodox Jewish (Haredi) engagement with science and modernity. Haredim are gradually moving more toward mainstream education governed by Western educational standards, there are more ultra-Orthodox in positions in academia, embracing advanced technologies, and the Haredi world has progressively integrated advanced technologies, shown greater professionalization and entered the job market in growing numbers. In the past, Haredi leaders actively opposed this integration.
Given the increasing willingness to engage with modernity and a general discomfort with technology, this project explores whether and how the Haredi community in Israel is legitimating and appropriating scientific knowledge. Specifically, we will investigate the role of the press, and informal, popular means of communicating science to investigate the meaning- making processes of Haredi readers engaging with science coverage in the press. The findings will not only shed light on integration of Haredi within Israeli society, but will also help better understand the processes of science education and communication in insular communities and the role of the press in fostering public engagement with science in such communities.
This project is funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology