Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Brick by Brick

Aharon Granot

It might take a bit of getting used to — peyos and beards underneath the hard hats on Israeli building sites. But as more chareidim seek honorable work without the compromises that often come along with a modern office setting, construction has become a logical, if not a novel option. The pay is good, the environment is clean, and they get to build Eretz Yisrael.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The air is noisy with drilling jackhammers kicking up clouds of dust, while crane operators in hard hats are busy transferring platforms of building materials to the base of the construction site. Soon these skeletal structures will turn into a neighborhood of high-rise apartments in the central Israeli town of Rosh Ha’ayin, but the new residents will have no idea that their walls were erected by a Sanzer chassid named Dovid who lives in Jerusalem’s chareidi Givat Moshe neighborhood. A visitor to the construction site would likely be taken by surprise at the sight of the Tidhar construction company’s staff: Under the safety helmets are big black yarmulkes, beards, and dangling peyos. And instead of hearing shouts of guttural street Arabic among the workers and wondering if any thoughts of terror are buzzing around beneath their helmets, the visitor might hear their amused voices wishing him “a gut morgen” in Yiddish, these workers’ preferred language of conversation. The new cadre of construction workers has taken advantage of a NIS 90 million government program to train Israelis for construction work, an opportunity that has already drawn several hundred chareidi men. The program was set up as a means of getting more Israeli citizens to work in a field that had become dependent on Palestinians and foreign workers. And it also reflects the steady changes to an industry that progressively requires more skills and high tech. Anyone who’s seen how drywall is put up or how a staircase is erected today knows that the Israeli building industry has taken a quantum leap from the days when putting up a house meant Arab laborers hand-mixing cement in a discarded bathtub. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you