The first technological college for ultra-Orthodox women was inaugurated in Israel this week, in the city of Netanya. The college's opening marks a change in the way the financial viability of haredi households is being perceived.
While the college will only begin operating in the next academic year (October 2009), its founders are already busy preparing the facilities and have proudly exhibited the structure and technological equipment that will be in use there.
The students at the college will be taught by lecturers from the Rupin Academic Center, and will be offered certification studies in accounting, bookkeeping and tax consultation, among other courses.
The pioneering move was lead by the director of the Beit Margalit school chain for haredi girls, Rabbi Yigal Krispel, with the support of Shas' spiritual leaders and of Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai of Shas.
Rabbi Krispel explained that "in the haredi sector it s customary that the woman provides for the family, especially during the first years of marriage when the young husband continues his yeshiva studies.
"In recent years most women have graduated from education studies, while the haredi job market is already overflowing with school and kindergarten teachers."
The rabbi continued: "In order to enable families to earn a decent income, it has been decided to open another job training channel that will operate in the spirit of our institutions, with a separation between men and women.
"In the 10 years we have operated in Netanya we have come to a stage in which our students graduate from high school after taking math and English matriculation exams in the highest levels, so there is nothing to prevent them from going on to higher studies."