Article Library / Israeli Judaism

When do you celebrate love: Valentine`s day or Tu B’av?

Every day is a great day to celebrate love, but when it comes to holidays, Tu B’av is the more prominent holiday among Israeli Jews. The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) is releasing this data as part of its #IsraeliJudaism research project, based on an extensive survey of Israeli Jews. A new book based on the research: #IsraeliJudaism, a Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, was recently published by Dvir Publishing.

Almost every Israeli Jew knows (or at least claims to know) what Tu B’Av is. One in ten Israeli Jews does not who St. Valentine is (“What is that?”). Our research also showed that more Israeli Jews participate in a romantic activity and buys gifts or flowers for their significant others on Tu B`av.

It`s easy to identify which groups do not know what valentine`s Day (which will be celebrated this week) is. If an Israeli Jew locates him or herself higher on the religiosity scale, his/her chances of observing Valentine’s Day decreased. Almost every secular Israeli Jew knows about the holiday’s existence, but half of the Haredi population and a quarter of the national-religious population do not.

Almost every sector in Jewish Israeli society prefers to celebrate Tu B’av over Valentine’s Day. Meaning, both secular and religious Jews celebrate the national “day of love” more than the international one. The gaps, of course, still vary by group. When a group is higher on the religiosity scale, the gap between those who celebrate Tu B’av and those who celebrate Valentine’s Day increases. The gap becomes clearer when we combine all the possible love holiday activities into one graph. The data about the three groups with the highest probability of celebrating Valentine’s Day is in the graph below, and can also be clearly seen that some in all three groups choose to celebrate twice.

JPPI’s Israeli-Judaism project is headed by Senior Fellow Shmuel Rosner, and Professor Camil Fuchs (Tel Aviv University), who oversees the surveys and statistical analysis. JPPI Fellow Noah Slepkov assisted in data analysis, drawn from a survey conducted of 3000 Israeli Jews in two rounds, one of 2000 Israeli Jews and another of an additional 1000 respondents, a representative sample of the Jewish public in Israel. The statistical margin of error for the sample of 3000 survey respondents is 1.8%. the #IsraeliJudaism book as published in a cooperation between Dvir Publishing and the JPPI.

The Jewish People Policy Institute (established by the Jewish Agency for Israel) is a think tank located in Jerusalem. Through strategic thinking and long-term action-oriented policy planning, JPPI focuses its efforts on ensuring the thriving of the Jewish people and the Jewish civilization. Avinoam Bar Yosef is President of JPPI, and Ambassadors Stuart Eizenstat and Dennis Ross are the Institute’s Co-Chairs.

For additional information contact Adar Schieber at JPPI: 02-563-3356, adar@jppi.org.il; info@jppi.org.il