The program offers Haredi women the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Engineering and
Within the ultra-Orthodox community, higher secular education was historically ignored, so that individuals could focus their time pursuing the study of Torah and other Jewish content. Without education and training in other areas, this community has found itself in a cycle of poverty, with no opportunity to integrate into the workforce. Over the years, community leaders have realized the need for career training in order to bolster the skills and professional potential for the community members. There are a number of factors to consider when customizing a program for this population:
Challenges for Women
Women comprise 50.5% of Israel’s population (as of 2012, source: Central Bureau of Statistics) and 57.3% of all undergraduate students in Israeli Colleges and Universities. However, in subjects traditionally attributed to males, namely engineering and architecture, women comprise only 27.7% (27.3% in Colleges). In subjects such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer engineering, less than 10% of students are female. (Data is from the Israel Council for Higher Education (Students in Institutions of Higher Education by Field of Study, Level of Degree, Type of Institution and Sex, 2014/15) and the Israel Women’s Network. Data is collected for Engineering and Architecture together.)
Since women have traditionally shied away from the fields of engineering, which can provide social mobility, there is an even greater need to encourage women to study it and develop a successful career.
Azrieli College developed a program for Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) women, who face a triple challenge- the communities’ historical approach to higher secular education, lack of relevant substantial studies that will enable them to study engineering, and as women pursuing careers in engineering.
Launched in 2012, the program is 4.5 years in length. This includes a one semester pre-academic preparatory course (mechina), followed by eight semesters of study toward a degree in Software Engineering at Azrieli College’s separate campus for these students.
The components include:
For a program like this to succeed, it requires the complete cooperation of the community it supports. To that end, the college partners with Tmura, an educational institution for ultra-Orthodox women, which provides educational, social, and community services. Among the organization’s guiding principles is the belief that to reduce socio-economic gaps for the ultra-Orthodox sector we must strengthen its workforce.
Students and Alumni
The program has 120 students and 28 graduates. Over 60 are finalizing their degree requirements and are working in their field with employers such as Intel, Cisco, Menora Mivtachim, Matrix, Zap Group, and the Israel Tax Authority.
There are a number of options for supporting the program.
Tax-deductible donations can be made in Israel and abroad.
For more information or to learn about additional departments and projects, please contact Judi Srebro at email@example.com or +972 54 768 1776.