The Documentary

BBC World Service

News & Politics, Society & Culture, History

Chart Positions

History 11
Society & Culture 59

The best of BBC World Service documentaries and other factual programmes.


Torah and Tech in Israel

September 8th, 2016

Episode 1315 of 1501 episodes

Can you learn to code if you’ve spent your life studying religious texts? Can you be part of the fast-paced, secular world of technology and startups if you’re from a conservative religious community? Israel has been called the "Startup Nation", with a flourishing technology sector playing a big role in the country’s economy. But one group who haven’t traditionally been involved are ultra-Orthodox Jews, known as Haredim. They often live apart from mainstream Israeli society and adhere to strict religious laws covering everything from diet to dress and technology. Many men don’t work or serve in the army, spending their lives studying the Torah, subsidised by the government. It’s a way of life that leaves many Haredim in poverty, and other Israelis resenting picking up the tab. But in recent years, the ultra-orthodox have been increasingly joining the high-tech world, working in big international tech companies and founding their own startups. David Baker travels to Israel to meet the new breed of high tech Haredim, and find out how they reconcile taking part in the "Startup Nation" with traditional Torah life. Produced by James Fletcher.

Featured Podcast