Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All "Kollel"ed Out...

...seems to be the message being sent by some Kollels to their most senior members/prospects.

The Jewish Worker, Life In Israel & The Wolf all deal with the topic of older individuals being denied entry into Kollel. There are issues that pertain to individual Kollelim and to the idea of Kollels at large.

Very interesting discussions that are well worth some of your time.

I have to say this would never have occurred to me. I would never have thought that there is a phenomenon of age discrimination in kollels. I thought it was only in the secular world that there is a culture of youth. It seems that the Charedi world has been affected as well. Last week's Mishpacha magazine (in Hebrew) has a long article detailing the problem. It seems that Avreichim over the age of 40 have a very hard time finding a kollel to learn in...

The article described how Rosh Kollel's consider these men to be difficult to hold for a number of reasons. The main issue was sphere of influence. Rosh Kollels want to have influence on the guys learning in their kollels, and that is more possible with younger guys than older guys. Also older guys stick to the kollel schedule less. And older guys want more flexibility to learn their preferred material rather than that mandated by the kollel. Also there is the sense that if the guy is sitting in kollel for so long, he must not be successful - otherwise he would have started his own kollel or yeshiva...

Bluke passes along some of the reasons given in the article. One of the reasons given is as follows: "Someone who is still just sitting and learning in kollel in their 40's is not going to become a Rosh Yeshiva, Rosh Kollel etc. The fact that they haven't moved up shows that they are not so successful."

When reading this, I'm left with a question: what, exactly, is the point of the Kollel system? Is it to produce the next generation of leaders/gedolim, or is it to have as many people as possible learn for as long as possible, for the learning's own sake?...


  1. Dunno, but I come from a more working-class background where the ideal is the reverse of what seems to be going on today: You work to raise your family, and hopefully someday you can retire to kollel!

  2. Gee... Last line is right....
    Learning should be for its own sake, not for advancement! *Such* a non-Jewish concept.