Published On: Mon, Apr 20th, 2015

First haredi high-tech accelerator opens

220 start-ups are competing for six places in the Kama-Tech accelerator.



Apparently, something has been opened in the Israeli Haredi community, which is being encouraged now to seek education and work in the society at large, and whose members are flocking in droves to institutions of higher education.Globes reported that the integration of Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) in the high-tech industry is gathering steam. The Kama-Tech Haredi accelerator is being officially launched today. The figures for the accelerator indicate a welcome trend: 224 startups by male and female entrepreneurs from the Haredi sector submitted their candidacy for the project, and the six most outstanding companies will be presented tomorrow. Read more.

And David Shamah, writing for Times of Israel, notes that while haredi entrepreneurs have been members of other accelerator programs, and several institutions, including JCT, have created tech training programs specifically for the haredi population, the new program – called “Yazam BaLev” (“an entrepreneur at heart”) is the first full-fledged accelerator that will provide a total “accelerator experience” to haredi entrepreneurs, said Weiner. “Other programs provided bits and pieces of the experience, but Yazam BaLev will be exactly like the accelerators in Tel Aviv – except all participants will be haredi males.” A program for females may come later on, said Weiner, but for now, Yazam BaLev is concentrating on the men. Read more.

ISRAEL21c interviewed 36-year-old Moshe Friedman, who,  like generations of men in his ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) family in Israel,  never learned mathematics, science, English or any other “secular” subject. Until age 30, he spent long hours in yeshiva studying Talmud to the exclusion of all else.

“Then I realized I wanted to explore a little bit, to know new fields and meet new people and go on new adventures, ” he told ISRAEL21c in excellent self-taught English.

“I found out that Israel is the startup nation, and I said, ‘Why shouldn’t I do that too?’”

Friedman personifies the slow but steady move toward high-tech careers among Israel’s Haredi population. Read more.

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