It’s shrinking – not because of the so-called “anti-Semitism” or due to the fear of “future Holocaust” pinned on Iranian president Ahmadinejad – but because more and more born-Jews are leaving their religion as result of being disgusted by the water-down Judaism.
According to the American Jewish Identity Survey 2001 – out of approximately 5.5 million American Jewish adults (born to a Jewish mother- in order to be Jewish according to the Jewish law) – nearly 1.7 million say they are members of a non-Jewish religion (reported by Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2002).
According to the World Jewish Congress Survey 1998 – the total world’s Jewish population stood at 13.5 million – with the largest number in the US (5.6 million), followed by Israel (4.9 million). The other significant Jewish populations listed in the survey, were – Russia (400,000), Canada (360,000), UK (280,000), Ukraine (280,000), Argentina (220,000), Germany (71,000), Islamic Iran (25,000), Panama (7,000), Hong Kong (2,500), Gibralter (650), Yemen (400), and Syria (100). To the best of my research – the said survey missed to mention the Jewish communities in Morocco (30,000), Mali (1000), Azerbaijan (2000), Uzbekistan (30,000), Albania, Turke (10,000), India (2000), and Tunisia (1200).
In December 2002, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported the total world Jewish population at 12.9 million – based on the study done by Jewish Agency Institute’s for Jewish People Policy Palanning, which posted the same numbers for 2006 (meaning a zero growth). And just imagine, who heads this Institute – Obama’s anti-Iran Jewish boy, Dennis Ross!
According to Israeli daily ‘YNet’, July 13, 2006 – “The coversion of Israeli Jews to Islam is on the increase due to deepening their knowledge of Islam and being disappointed in Judaism.”
Sara Yoheved Rigler (an Israeli Jewish author) in her book titled The Dead End of Jewish Culture, wrote:
American Jews have been occupied for four decades in a desperate attempt to stay the tide of assimilation and intermarriage (not to even speak of their more hideous confrere: conversion). I remember as a teenager in the early 1960s sitting through sermons where our rabbi pontificated on the various solutions to The Problem. Yet exactly what is the Jewish leadership trying to perpetuate? Jewish genes? Jewish culture? A fondness for kreplach and klezmer and Isaac Bashevis Singer?
If so, no wonder the Catholics are winning. They don’t strive to inculcate in their children a love for Catholic culture. They don’t try to whip up enthusiasm for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day nor spend millions to make sure that every Catholic child decorates an Easter egg. They are propagating a religion, complete with God and soul and afterlife. We are pushing a culture, complete with Sholem Aleichem and dreidels and lithographs of the Western Wall. But for a culture, no matter how engaging, no one is ready to sacrifice one’s life — nor the love of one’s life. Against Christianity we have pitted not Judaism, but Judaica.
History shows that substitutes for halachic Judaism have a shelf life of four generations or less. Reform Judaism’s founder Moses Mendelssohn had nine grandchildren; eight of them were baptized as Christians. Zionist founder Theodore Herzl’s children were not only not Zionists, they were not Jews. How many of the grandchildren of the great Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz married under a chupah? How many of his great-grandchildren know what a chupah is?
To perpetuate Jewish culture, outside of museums and university courses, at the very least you need Jews. But Jews, as all the population surveys prove, are rapidly disappearing. The first step in the multi-million-dollar enterprise of passing Jewish culture on to the next generation is to ensure that there will be a next generation.
Authentic Jewish life is characterized by the study of Torah, the observance of Shabbat and Kashrut, and the thrice-daily worship of God. Not Shabbes leichter as museum pieces, but a generation of Jewish women who light their candles to usher in the holy Shabbat. Not klezmer concerts to evoke nostalgia for the shtetl, but Jewish bands playing Jewish music at Jewish weddings where Jewish communities are celebrating the beginning of a new generation of a Jewish family.