Culture

Retail

Admen of God— Israel

Preface

Imagine trying to sell products to people who don’t watch TV and cannot use the internet. That’s the challenge for students studying at the Haredi Advertising Academy, which trains them in how to make advertisements aimed at their Orthodox brothers.

Haredi. advertising, Hasidic, Orthodox Jews, academy

It’s not every day that Israel Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, opens a new college campus. But then the Haredi Advertising Academy is hardly an everyday college. Located in the heavily Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, this is Israel’s – if not the world’s – first advertising school exclusively serving the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Launched with 35 students in May 2010, the academy is grooming a generation of ­advertising execs specifically targeting Haredi consumers.

Founded by the mainstream advertising school Habe…

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Despite their numbers, the Haredi community is currently Israel’s poorest – with 60 per cent of all families living below the poverty line. The chief cause is unemployment: 60 per cent of all Haredi men in Israel do not work. Instead, they study Torah full-time, which costs the Israeli economy an estimated $1bn (€775m) in lost income and taxes. But unlike their parents, who enjoyed lavish government subsidies – young Haredi adults are now entering the workplace. They have no choice: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut Haredi welfare support by more than 50 per cent during his tenure as economic minister in 2003. Almost a decade later, upwards of 40 per cent of Haredi men and women are now employed in the formal sector – many in hi-tech and software industries. Still, Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer says ongoing Haredi unemployment is economically “not sustainable”.

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