Ultra-orthodox British and American Jews are set to outnumber their more secular counterparts by the second half of this century according to research by a University of Manchester academic.
Historian Dr Yaakov Wise says the increase in religious British Jewry – recognisable by their traditional dress – is now outstripping the decline in the overall Jewish population which has been shrinking by one to two per cent each year since the 1950s.
European ultra-orthodox Jewry is expanding more rapidly than at any time since before World War Two.
Almost three out of every four British Jewish births, he says are ultra- orthodox who now account for 45,500 out of a total UK Jewish population of around 275,000 or 17 per cent.
According to Dr Wise and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Professor Sergio Della Pergola, Israel is experiencing similar changes.
Dr Wise said: “If current trends continue there is going to be a profound cultural and political change among British and American Jews – and it’s already well on the way.
“This is in spite of demographic studies which show that the non-Ultra Orthodox Jewish population is flat or falling.
“And you can see evidence for this in communities across the UK: in Greater Manchester for example the Ultra- orthodox number 8,500 which is almost a third of the 28,000 Jews in the region.
“This is up from around one quarter only ten years ago.
“Approximately half of all the Jewish under fives in Greater Manchester are Ultra-orthodox.
“And in Greater London the Ultra-orthodox now account for 18 per cent of the Jewish population, up from less than 10 per cent in the early 1990s.”
He added: “My work and that of Professor Sergio Della Pergola reveal a similar picture in Israel.
“By the year 2020, the Ultra-orthodox population of Israel will double to one million and make up 17 per cent of the total population.
“A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that a third of all Jewish pupils will be studying at haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry.
“In America too, where the Jewish population is stable or declining, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish numbers are growing rapidly.
“Professor Joshua Comenetz from The University of Florida says the Ultra-orthodox population doubles every 20 years, which he says may make the Jewish community not only more religiously observant but more politically conservative.
“Comenetz estimated the Ultra-orthodox population in 2000 was about 360,000, 7.2 per cent of the approximately 5 million Jews in the U.S.
“But in 2006, demographers now estimate the number had grown to 468,000 or 9.4 per cent.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The UK figures were based on census data plus the regular monitoring of Jewish births by academics in Manchester and Leeds.
The Hebrew word Charedi is directly translated as strictly orthodox.
Dr Wise is available for comment
An image of Dr Wise available
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In an era when the Jewish population in America is stable or declining, ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish numbers are growing rapidly — a trend that may make the Jewish community not only more religiously observant but also more politically conservative.
So says a University of Florida population geographer who recently completed the first estimate of the Hasidic population based on the U.S. Census.
Geography professor Joshua Comenetz estimated today’s Hasidic population at about 180,000, just 3 percent of the approximately 6 million Jews in the U.S., in a recent paper published in the journal Contemporary Jewry. However, Comenetz calculated that the Hasidic population doubles every 20 years because Hasidic Jews tend to have many children. That’s occurring even as demographic studies show that the non-Orthodox Jewish population is flat or falling. If current trends continue, Hasidic and other growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups will constitute a majority of U.S. Jews in the second half of this century – a potentially profound cultural and political change.
“In demographic terms, Hasidic Jews are more similar to some highly religious Christian groups than liberal Jews,” Comenetz said. “They may also sympathize more with the Republicans than the Democrats on values questions. So, one outcome may be a change in the way Jews vote.”
This bodes a turn toward conservatism among American Jews, most of whom traditionally support the Democratic Party, Comenetz added. For example, most ultra-Orthodox Jews send their children to religious schools, which makes they more sympathetic to faith-based initiatives of the sort identified with the Republican Party.
Hasidic, which means “pious” in Hebrew, refers to a Jewish movement that believes in a strict interpretation of the laws and ethics of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Hasidic Jews frown on contraception, abortion and divorce, although they do not absolutely ban them. Hasidic Jews also tend to have large, traditional families, with most Hasidic women working in the home, although Hasidic women are not forbidden from entering the workplace.
Comenetz is not the first to try to estimate the national Hasidic population, which is centered in the New York area. But his estimate is the only one based on U.S. Census data, and the most recent data at that — the 2000 U.S. Census. The Census might seem an unlikely source of information for such research because it does not ask questions about people’s religious affiliation. In effect since the first Census in 1790, that policy is rooted in the constitutional separation of church and state.
What made Comenetz’s research possible was a question the Census does ask: “What language do you speak at home?” Hasidic Jews are rare among immigrant groups in that they continue to speak the native tongue of their Eastern European forebears today, many generations after their ancestors first came to America. That language is Yiddish.
Comenetz’s effort was more complicated than simply summing all Census-counted Yiddish speakers, however. That’s because not all Hasidic Jews speak Yiddish. And many elderly non-Hasidic Jews who immigrated to America from Eastern Europe through the post-World War II era also speak Yiddish. This population complicated the picture enough for Comenetz to find a way to isolate them from Hasidic Jews.
He did that by using other Census questions about age to narrow his focus to Yiddish-speaking children, counting about 40,000 between ages 5 and 17, most in metropolitan New York. Other information about Hasidic family structure allowed Comenetz to extrapolate the 40,000 children to 140,000 total Hasidic Jews.
That was in 2000, and Comenetz estimates the number has grown to 180,000 in 2006. There are about the same number of ultra-Orthodox Jews who are not Hasidic. Unlike many Christian groups, such as Mormons, most Jews including the ultra-Orthodox do not seek converts, so the growth of their population is almost entirely due to births. It is not at all unusual for ultra-Orthodox families to have four, six or more children, Comenetz said.
In New York, the effects of the growth of the Hasidic population are already apparent, with Hasidic people leaving their traditional neighborhoods in Brooklyn to set up communities in rural suburbs. Hasidic Jews believe in living close together, within walking distance of a synagogue, so these settlements tend consist of closely spaced apartments or rowhouses – a far cry from the big-house, big-lawn American suburban archetype. As the population grows, New York can expect to see more such unique settlements, Comenetz said. “They do the opposite of suburban sprawl,” he said.
- Writer: Aaron Hoover, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-392-0186
- Source: Joshua Comenetz, email@example.com, 352-392-0494, Ext. 210
Therefore, it is of utmost important to confront such reality, to understand its serious ramifications, and to expose the mental hijacking and indoctrination of children, specially with the knowledge of Chabad ideology, their fervent activities and fanatic dominance in Jewish schools in particular and the education system at large, please recall that the education day in the USA was chosen on the birthday of Chabad rebbe Menachem Schneerson
American children are being taught TREASON i.e that “israel” NOT America is their homeland
“My land of Israel is beautiful and blossoming!
Who built it and who cultivated it?
All of us together!
I built a house in the land of Israel.
So now I have a land and I have a house in the land of Israel!”
Success and Scrutiny at Hebrew Charter School
“Every Jew, men and even women and children, brings about the existence of the entire creation, they become masters over the world, and thus every single creation owes them recognition for this good”