Identity

WHO IS A JEW? VIEWPOINTS OF ISRAELI JEWS

A comprehensive study examines the attitudes of Jews in Israel regarding the question “Who is a Jew?”

WHO IS A JEW? VIEWPOINTS OF ISRAELI JEWS

1.The game: https://themadad.com/whojew/ [In Hebrew]
2.https://themadad.com/ – HaMadad (The Index): Politics, Society, Culture and Identity in Israel. Editor: Shmuel Rosner, Scientific Advisor: Camil Fuchs, Analyst: Noah Slepkov. [In Hebrew]
3.https://www.kan.org.il
4.Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a Time of Fluid Identity. Special Report of the Jewish People Policy Institute, Shmuel Rosner and John Ruskay, 2016.
5.See: Ministry of Interior Correction: Most Olim from Russia and Ukraine – Not Jews; Most Olim from the US and France – Jews, Kobi Nachshoni, 2019, Ynet. [In Hebrew]
6.Because the background questions do not include a question about the mother’s identity, we have no way of identifying these respondents versus the others who identify as Jews. The share of FSU olim in the study, whom we can identify, is not particularly high, meaning that we have no reason to assume that the share of respondents in the study who are not Jewish according to Halacha is higher than their share in the general population. It should therefore be added that in the vast majority of studies of world Jewry, the accepted definition is self-definition, not a halachic test.
7.88% rate their Jewishness 7,8,9, and 10.
8.Quoted from the book that summed up the study #IsraeliJudaism: Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, Shmuel Rosner and Camil Fuchs, Dvir and the Jewish People Policy Institute, 2018.
9.The percentage of those who answered Important and Very important. The share of those who answered Somewhat important is 8%, while the share of those for whom it is not important at all is 5%. This is also true of the next question.
10.The full study: https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2021/05/11/jewish-americans-in-2020/
11.The full study: https://www.pewforum.org/2016/03/08/israels-religiously-divided-society
12.For all publications of the #IsraeliJudaism study: https://ij.jppi.org.il/he/about [in Hebrew]
13.If we combine Religion, Religion and Ethnicity, and Everything in the Pew survey, we obtain a similar share to that obtained for the Religion category in the Israeli Judaism survey (slightly over 40%), which allows us to assume that, had only one option been available, those who chose a combination would have selected Religion rather than the additional component.
14.Date from the 2016 survey: http://jppi.org.il/he/article/aa2016/part2/bonds/jewish-pluralism-in-israel/#.YhSCKC8RqU0
15.Per the Central Bureau of Statistics report [Statistical Abstract?] (2021), 44.8% of the Jewish population (ages 20 and over) defined themselves as not religious, secular; 33% self-defined as traditional (Masorti); 11.7% self-defined as religious (non-ultra-Orthodox – Dati); and 10% self-defined as ultra-Orthodox (Haredi).
16.Scholem quoted in: What [Kind of] Religion Is Judaism? Part 1, Rachel Elior, Odyssey, 2015. ]in Hebrew]
17.For more on this topic, see: The Jews: 7 Frequently-Asked Questions, Shmuel Rosner, Dvir and ANU – Museum of the Jewish People, 2016. Chapter: “What Is Judaism?” [in Hebrew]
18.For further discussion of this decision: Fathers of the Faith? Three Decades of Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism, Annual Assessment of the Jewish People Policy Institute, 2013. [In Hebrew]
19.https://scholarworks.brandeis.edu/esploro/outputs/report/2020-Metropolitan-Chicago-Jewish-Population-Study/9924025011701921#file-2
20.Pew 2020, page 93.
21.Scholars of American Jewry are deeply divided on this issue. However, based on the data currently available (no one is able to determine whether and how things may change later on), when considered through a multigenerational lens, one finds an erosion in Jewish affiliation among the offspring of intermarriage. See: http://jppi.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Raising-Jewish-Children-Research-and-Indicators-for-Intervention.pdf
22.Special Survey, Religion and State Conference [Inaugural Biennial Statistical Report on Religion and State], Ariel Finkelstein, Ayala Goldberg, Adv. Shlomit Ravitsky Tur-Paz, September 2022.
23.It should be noted that not all studies include people who meet this definition as Jews. In a Pew Center study (2020), no such definition was included regarding the Jewish population.
24.Between the two most recent Pew surveys of the American Jewish community (2013, 2020), an interesting change was made; the earlier survey gave Jews the option of identifying as partial Jews, while the later one did not.
25.A rabbi who stood out for disagreeing with the idea that Rufeisen would be considered Jewish according to Halacha is Rav Aharon Lichtenstein. See: Musar Aviv: On Ethics, Faith, and Society. Maggid and Yeshivat Har Etzion, 2016. [In Hebrew]
26.See: Who Is Considered to Be a Convert? History and Outcomes of the Legal Struggle, Dr. Shuki Friedman, Israel Democracy Institute. [In Hebrew]
27.In JPPI’s report Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a Time of Fluid Identity, we included a kind of graph of Jewishness with two axes, one for role and situation, the other for criteria. On this graph we showed that every situation essentially calls for different criteria and, therefore, for a different definition of the required Jewishness. See Page 88.
28.See the Shalit ruling: https://openscholar.huji.ac.il/sites/default/files/hebrewlaw/files/bnymyn_shlyt_bshmv_vbshm_yldyv_vrn_vglyh_shlyt_ngd_shr_hpnym_vpqyd_hryshvm_mkhvz_khyph_bgts_ms_58-68.pdf
29.It should be noted that even those who say, “an Orthodox conversion” may be referring only to some of the conversions that self-define as Orthodox. It may be that “any Orthodox conversion” means “any conversion that is Orthodox in my opinion,” which in turn means “only some conversions.”
30.The response options were: both identical rules and identical deciding entities; the same rules, but each community has its own deciding entities; no need for uniformity: each place has its own rules and deciding entities.
31.See Survey, Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, 2016, p. 54. [In Hebrew]
32.The Israel Democracy Institute survey data are not consistent with this finding. Per the IDI survey, “the Jewish public is split down middle with regard to non-Orthodox conversion: 44% do not consider someone who has converted in this way to be Jewish, 40% do view them as Jewish, and 16% don’t know.”
33.An interesting difference was found between ultra-Orthodox, most of whom chose the “all the mitzvot” option, and the religious, many more of whom chose the “some of the mitzvot” option. The question is whether this is a difference in level of expectation regarding mitzvah observance, or in level of willingness to explicitly say that there is an aspiration to full mitzvah observance.
34.This figure is from the #IsraeliJudaism study, 2018. [In Hebrew]
35.According to a Fall 2021 THEMADAD.COM survey for Israel Hofsheet, 76% of the traditional-religious do not travel on Shabbat, while 88% of those in the traditional-not-very-religious category do travel on Shabbat.
36.On the levels and means of overlap between the various groups, see THEMADAD.COM’s report for Israel Hofsheet on traditional Jews in Israel. [In Hebrew]
37.On this issue see a Haaretz review of a discussion held in the Kan studio: In Live Broadcast, Kalman Liebskind Performs Selection on Mixed Couples in Israel. https://www.haaretz.co.il/gallery/television/tv-review/1.10390067 [In Hebrew]

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