Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Future of Work

In a Post-Work World, Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Point the Way

A traditional community devoted to religious study offers lessons for a low-employment future.
Ninety-eight percent of Haredim say they’re satisfied with their lives.

Ninety-eight percent of Haredim say they’re satisfied with their lives.

Photographer: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

The relentless march of technology evokes fears that machines will one day displace most humans from work, and with good reason. Artificial intelligence can coach soccer players and write news stories, and more than 2 million robots make everything from Porsches to pizzas—a number that researcher Oxford Economics predicts will jump tenfold over the next decade, sending 20 million factory hands to the unemployment lines. So how to find purpose in this low-employment future in which erstwhile workers have almost unlimited free time?

Some researchers suggest looking at one of the world’s most traditional communities: the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, of Israel.