These men and women are part of the haredi community or ultra-Orthodox Jews, and although math and science skills take a backseat, with the focus primarily on Talmud, some have found an unlikely home in the country's booming high-tech industry.
"The thirst for knowledge and the constant drive to apply this knowledge are fantastic attributes for a budding entrepreneur, developer or analyst," said Jon Burg, an Orthodox Jew who works in product marketing at the online platform web publishing company, Conduit, in New York.
Advocates say their intense, methodical study of ancient religious text, community values, logic and morality provide tools that are applicable and beneficial to the technology ecosystem.
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"From the very beginning Jews have been business people and entrepreneurs," said Jonathan Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform that invests in Haredim and other Israeli and global start-ups. "Whether you look at Moses or Abraham—they all had professional careers," added Medved.
While many if not most Israelis jump from graduate school into the high-tech sector, the ultra-Orthodox dedicate their life to Torah study. Israeli life tracks secular and haredi Israelis apart from each other from birth to death—separate schools, separate neighborhoods, newspapers, activities, etc. Many see the integration of haredim as a win-win both for the quickly growing community and for Israel as a whole, which needs their manpower.
"Work is the only place that they have to potentially cooperate and learn to respect each other. When that happens, we have seen amazing results," said Doron Orly who works at JDC Israel, a worldwide Jewish relief organization that also places haredim into jobs.
Still challenges remain. There is a cultural gap between most of the "ultra-Orthodox" or yeshiva world, and the secular world of industry and high tech. High-tech firms have to provide religious employees with a same-sex work space, cafeteria menus must follow the dietary kosher rules more stringently, a censored Internet connection that blocks access to websites seen as ethically unsound according to rabbinical law, 8-hour workdays to help with child care and allocated for prayer time.