Daily Alert

08 February 2008

American Jewry Astray

Poll: American Orthodox Most Supportive of Israel

(IsraelNN.com) An annual survey of American Jews reveals that orthodox Jews in the United States are much more supportive of Israel than those identifying with other streams of Judaism. The survey by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) uncovers a growing ideological gap in the U.S., according to Jewish leaders at joint forum including orthodox and reform Jews last week.

One of the striking differences between orthodox and non-orthodox American Jews is the amount of time young orthodox Jews spend in Israel, according to Steven Bayne, director of the AJC's Department of Contemporary Jewish life. He predicted that the gap among American Jews will widen as the orthodox community's importance grows.

Younger orthodox Jews' affiliation with a synagogue is double than that of the Jewish population in general. "If you are looking at who is going to be sufficiently concerned about Jewish community and Jewish peoplehood activities, one sociologist suggests that 50 percent of that universe of people concerned with Jewish life may be Orthodox," Bayne added.

APRPEH reviewed other demographic reports on 22 November 2007 in the post News for Thanksgiving and a Turkey in the Straw. That survey presumed as a test variable:
*"As might be expected, Orthodox Jews maintain far different relationships with Israel than those maintained by the non-Orthodox. If anything, Orthodox engagement with Israel has increased over the years as Orthodoxy has been “Sliding to the Right” (Heilman 2006)."

APRPEH stated in that post that the survey in question did not poll Orthodox youth because the impression was that the poll was merely reflecting the fact that less Torah equates to less Jewish unity. The AJC survey seems to verify this observation. This idea is pretty much a given for religious Jews but not so clearly understood by the not yet religious. We may even go so far as to say that the not yet religious even have anxiety and angst watching the people who stand alone quite frequently at odds with the conventional culture. Instead of embracing their co-religionists, the not yet religious are more concerned with common acceptance and social norms.

We Jews suffer from this psychosis of mis-directed unity. Al peh Halacha we must take of our own. By reality, if we didn't take care of ourselves, not only would no one else, but the incentive to weaken us physically and spiritually would bring our collective enemies, the spiritual heirs of Amalek and Helenism a great sense of satisfaction. And thus the real truth of non-Torah Judaism is apparent. Non-Orthodoxy is not really about the search to find personal meaning through or opposed to our traditions, but is the search for personal meaning without a concern as to Clal Yisroel at all. Failure to bind one's soul to all of Israel is a failure to recognize one of the key elements in Yiddishkeit, that HaShem cut the Jews from one cloth.

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