In the minds of many people, the terms “ultra-Orthodox” and “high-tech entrepreneur” are two that don’t match up. The former are open to new ideas, experiment with advanced technologies, show independent spirit, and are at home on the Internet — quite the opposite of the average ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi Jew, according to the image many Israelis have.
But is that an accurate image? To hear Haredi entrepreneur Itzik Crombie tell it, it is not. Crombie, a Habad (Lubavitch) hassid who could be called a “serial entrepreneur,” has started several business, the latest of which, iSale Global, won an award last year for an app it developed to help salespeople sell more. Crombie doesn’t see himself as an exception, but as a pioneer.
“Haredim are just as creative and imaginative, and as willing to succeed, as are secular Israelis. In fact, from what I have seen among those in the high-tech world, they are even more ambitious,” Crombie told The Times of Israel. “The problem is that they don’t have role models to show them how to navigate the business world and get to the point where they can build their own businesses.”
To that end, Crombie organized, along with venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), the first Haredi Hi-Tech Forum, in which ultra-Orthodox businesspeople, industry leaders, and business experts will present ideas on how to take a high-tech idea and run with it, getting financing and backing, and achieving business success. The event will be held at JVP’s Jerusalem headquarters on Tuesday.
While most Israelis don’t realize it, ultra-Orthodox Jews are already well-entrenched in the business world, especially the high-tech world. But the vast majority are working at low-level programming and data entry jobs, said Crombie. “Today there are many courses that teach basic computer skills that are attended by Haredi women, and increasingly by men.”Read more at Times of Israel.