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January 25, 1980 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-01-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT MESH MEWS

Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . . and Me'

Editor-in-Chief
Emeritus, JTA
t (Copyright 1979, JTA, Inc.)

1980 CENSUS.— JEWS MISSING: Every 10 years
the U.S. government conducts a census of the population
through its Census Bureau. The results play a very impor-
tant role in decisions of the federal, state and local govern-
ments and their agencies on appropriations of funds to meet
social, cultural, welfare and other needs of all segments of
the population. They influence other programs of national
and local importance, including economic, employment,
education, social security and energy. They serve as a basis
for the apportionment of seats in the U.S. Congress.
The 1980 census will count approximately 222 million
people. It will distinguish itself by making special efforts to
secure improved data on ethnic and racial groups in the
country, especially black and Spanish-speaking people. Its
questionnaire will include questions concerning 60 ethnic
groups, but not on Jews.
Why are Jews as Jews ignored in this most important
government project which serves as the foundation for
major government decisions concerning the population?
Officials of the Census Bureau tell you that Jews are
not identified as Jews in the census because they are not
considered officially as an ethnic group. They are classified
as a religious group. And the Census Bureau abstains from
inserting a question of religious affiliation in its question-
naire.
Some officials hint that they are not entirely happy
over the fact that the census does not include specific data
on the Jewish population, since this makes the census in-
complete. They point out, however, that this is the wish of
some Jewish organizations which insist on maintaining in
the census the spirit of separation of state and church.
ISSUE OF JEWISH IDENTIFICATION: Seeking a
way, nevertheless, to identify the Jews, the Census Bureau
made a trial effort in 1957 to give data on Jews as Jews in
its monthly Current Population Survey. It then established
that the total Jewish population was 5,039,000, of whom
3,868,000 were over the age of 14.
This information was very useful and beneficial to the
Jewish community, as would be other data on various as-
pects of Jewish life if it were given in the census. It was
considered authentic. But no sooner were the figures on
Jews made public than the Census Bureau received pro-
tests from some Jewish groups. Without further ado, it
dropped the question of religious affiliation from the decen-
tennial censuses that followed in 1960, 1970 and now in
1980.
While the Census Bureau does not identify American
Jews as Jews, it does identify Israeli natives as an ethnic
group in this country. It includes them in the list of the 60
ethnic groups of foreign stock by birth as well as by mixed
American-Israeli parentage.
The last census of 1970 gives the number of Jews with
Israel as their country of origin as 59,097. Of them, 23,239
were born in this country either of Israeli or of mixed
Israeli-American parentage. Data on Americans of Israeli
origin by nativity will also be included in the 1980 census.
It is regrettable that Jews are not identified as Jews in
the census. One of the detrimental results — and there are
many of them — is that American Jewry, the largest
Jewish community in the world, still lacks authentic in-
formation on such a basic matter as its total number in the
country. There is data compiled by the American Jewish
Year Book and by the Jewish Population Study of the
Council of Jewish Federations. However, this data is built
on estimates, and there are some discrepancies between
these two major sources, although both indicate that the
Jewish population in the U.S. is declining. The AJYB esti-
mates that there was a total of 5,845,685 Jews in this
country in 1976 as compared with 6,060,000 in 1971, while
the CJF Population Study shows that in the early 1970s the
American Jewish community had a population of
5,798,000. CJF demographic experts Alvin Chenkin and
Maynard Miran estimate that there are now about
5,780,000 Jews in this country.
The confusion on data concerning the Jewish popula-
tion is even greater when it comes to estimating the Jewish
population in New York, where Jews once constituted 40
percent of the entire population and now are estimated to
constitute only 16 percent. The AJYB gives the Jewish
population figure of Greater New York as being 1,998,000
compared with the New York City estimate of 2,294,000
way back in 1953. Other Jewish demographers assert that
the number is very much smaller than the one given in the
American Jewish Year Book.
There is no doubt that it would serve the Jewish com-
munity well to have in its possession data on Jewish de-
mography collected by the Census Bureau. American Jews,
spending billions of dollars a year on their i institutions, are
losing in various directions by the absence of their identifi-
cation from the general census.

Peres to Head Labor List

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The
intense rivalry within the
Labor Party between Shi-
mon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin
and Yigal Allon as to which
of them would head the
party's list in the next na-
tional election for premier
ended Sunday when the
party's central committee
voted overwhelmingly for
Peres to head the list.
In a jubilant speech after
the vote, Peres, who is the
party's chairman, said he
was imbued with a renewed
confidence. "There is no
longer any internal (party)
rivalry. Our rival is the
Likud and only the Likud."
The 721 central commit-
tee members who partici-
pated in the weekend con-
ference, the largest number
in attendance in the party's
history, cast 457 votes for
Peres, 224 against and 40
abstained. The surprise in
the vote was not that Peres,
who ran uncontested, re-
ceived approval to head the
list but the number that
voted against him.

Rabin is bitterly op-
posed to Peres and has
stated on various occa-
sions that he does not re-
gard Peres as suitable to
be premier. Rabin had
expressed support for
Allon who, after Sun-
day's election, declared
again that he would cam-
paign for the leadership
of the party at the party's
convention next June.

Allon claimed that those
who voted against Peres
had, in effect, registered
support for him. During the
weekend conclave all the
speakers, including Rabin
and Allon, stressed the need
for a unified party in order

HIAS Official

NEW YORK — Richard
Kellerman has been named
associate director of public
relations for HIAS, the
world-wide Jewish migra-
tion agency.

"Your
Office

Metropolitan Detroit's
Most Complete Stationer

Boy"

a/A








SHIMON PERES

to win the voters' confidence
and to achieve an electoral
victory over the Likud.

Friday, January 25, 1980 19



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