Itzik Friedland, an ultra-Orthodox father of three from Tel Aviv, had an audacious request for the rabbis he respected. Would it be OK if he learned computer coding and started work as a software developer?
It was an unusual ask because devout Israeli Jews like Friedland are expected to eschew the modern, secular world for the study of ancient Talmudic texts. In this case, however, Friedland was proposing to join an experimental vocational program that offers men like him high-tech skills and jobs, while allowing them to continue their religious studies. The rabbis assented and Friedland, 28, is about to graduate.