Sharing the Burden: Haredi Program at Ono Academic College

Library study, Haredi Campus, Ono Academic  College
Library study, Haredi Campus, Ono Academic College

Over 2,500 Haredi men and women are currently studying law, business, accounting and health professions at Israel’s Ono Academic College Haredi Campus, while thousands more have graduated and are gradually enhancing the community’s capacity for self-sufficiency. The Ono Haredi campus, located in central Israel, is now the largest academic framework for the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel and the only one to be part of a secular institution.

Already in 2001 Ono Academic College recognized that the ultra-Orthodox community, Israel’s fastest growing Jewish community, must enter the business arena, lower its dependency on subsidies and participate in Israel’s mainstream economy. It established two campuses for the ultra-Orthodox community where men and women study for a prestigious academic degree that leads to lucrative employment opportunities. “This program and others at Ono Academic College distinguish and differentiate us from other academic institutions in Israel,” assures Rabbi Yeheskel Fogel, Director of the Haredi Campus. “Ono has a social mission to achieve, and that means to ensure that all sectors of the Israeli society have an opportunity to acquire higher education, and as a result, to be active in Israel’s economy.”

Students are offered full degree programs in law, business and accounting, with majors in finance and the capital market, information systems analysis, and marketing and advertising, and beginning this year, health professions – occupational therapy and speech therapy.

“We have given a lot of attention to those details that enable the ultra-Orthodox students to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Men and women study on separate days and are taught by lecturers of their own gender,” Rabbi Fogel explains. Moreover, the Haredi facility is separate from the college’s main campus. Ono utilizes its own financial resources to award scholarships to the ultra-Orthodox students, covering almost half of their tuition fees. The program is also supported by the Los Angeles Jewish Community Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Kemach Foundation.