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August 31, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-08-31

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2 Friday, August 31, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

discussion on the Jewsh aspect of the population problem
The researchers also discovered the only
A Sephardi World editorial notes on this aspect of the issu
three percent of the married women never had
any children. Thirty percent had ten children or
The situation in Israel is slightly different,
more. Among Eastern European Jewish women,
though it is also a cause for concern. In Israel the
In the concern expressed over the threatening popula-
the average number of children per mother was
rate of intermarriage is almost nil: however, here,
tion explosion, world Jewry is the exception to the ac-
seven. This also explains the tremendous demog-
too, there has been a weakening in the trend
knowledged rule. Instead of increasing, in the vastness of
raphic explosion among the Jewish people from
toward marriage and a steady increase in the
global experience, Jewish communities are declining and
the mid-1600s until the end of the 19th Century.
number of divorces. As to fertility, there is a sig-
some are vanishing.
During this period, the number of Jews in Eastern
nificant decline among Sephardi Jews, but the
As the issues affecting mankind were being studied
Europe swelled from 350,000 to more than seven
number of children per family among Ashkenazi
and tested, taking into consideration that the world poPu-
million by the end of the 19th Century.
Jews has risen. Today, the difference between the
lation may more than double, to some nine million, in the
Since then, the situation has changed drasti-
two groups in this repsect is very small. ,
next half century, only in Israel is there evidence of a
cally: the population pyramid has been up-ended.
`One may assume that in time, the difference
minimal measure of normalcy in retention of Jewish popu-
Today, the trend towards marriage among Dias-
will
disappear completely: the upsurge in in-
lation figures. On the worldwide scale, many Jewish com-
pora Jewry is steadily declining and a large per-
terethnic
marriages in Israel will contribute to
munities are suffering from population losses due to inter-
centage of those Jews who do marry are as-
that,' says Prof. Bachi. On the whole, the general
marriage among the young and specifically due to the low-
similating. In the various countries outside of Is-
picture is not encouraging, since the average
est birth rate recorded among Jews.
rael, the rate of mixed marriages reaches 20,40,
number of children per family in Israel is 2.7. The
Thus, while, at the International Conference on Popu-
and in some places even 60 percent. This trend is
Jews of Israel, says Prof. Bachi, are the only
lation, in Mexico, family planning was a chief considera-
especially strong among the Jews of Germany,
branch of Jewry in which there is a positive popu-
tion, with abortion a disputing issue, for Jews there is the
Austria, Switzerland, Holland, and Denmark. In
lation
growth rate. Until now this was the factor
duty to emphasize the importance of increasing the birth
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, there are
offsetting the demographic losses of the Jewish
rate, of abandoning the trends stemming from fewer mar-
also many mixed marriages. It is interesting to
people in the Diaspora. However, according to the
riages and families limited to two, often one child, per
note, says Prof. Bachi, that the trend is weaker in
prognosis, this situation cannot be expected to
family, and in many cases none.
the United States, but the proportions are rising
continue, and there will be a general decline in the
Population control is the world problem, the drastic
steadily. .
, number of Jews in the world. The importance of
decline a seriously Jewish one. The magazine Sephardi
Fewer marry: However, the main demog-
Israel's Jews will grow steadily - until by the end
World, in its curent issue, tackles the distressing situation
raphic problem of Diaspora Jewry is the declin-
of the century they will constitute 36 percent of
editorially under the title "Jewish Population in the Bal-
ing fertility rate. In all of these countries the aver-
world Jewry.
ance." It deals with the predictions of an eventual disap-
age number of children per Jewish mother is less
• Meanwhile, the reports from communities througho
pearance phrased in the questions: "Is the Jewish people in
than two. This average is even lower than the
the world provide the evidence of declines that are tru
the process of disappearing? Will we be witness at the end of - average number of children among the non-
distressing. The vanishing communities are in all are
this century a reduction in the number of Jews in the
Jewish population in those countries.
Studying the areas at random, it has just been repo
Diaspora and
and the almost total assimilation of world
According to Prof. Bachi, this trend has
from Belfast, Ireland, that its Jewish population has d
Jewry?" The brief essay discusses the demographical and
created a tremendous upsurge in the proportion -
dined from 1,750 in 1968 to the present 300 - and t
statistical studies conducted by Prof. Roberto Bachirwhe.„ , of elderly among Diaspora Jews. In 1975, 16 per-
report states that this number is rapidly declining.
conducted his studies in behalf of the Institute of Contem- 'cent of Diaspora Jewry was above the age of 65.
From another remote community, Newfoundland
porary Jewry of the Hebrew University.
That is an even higher proportion than is gener-
comes the information that the only synagogue in th
An analysis of earlier conditions leading the present
ally found in developed countries, where those
nation's capital, St. Johns, is being abandoned. From
decline is thus referred to in the Sephardi World essay:
aged 75 and over comprise about ten percent of
population of 50 in 1969 only 28 now remain - not enou
In the first stage of their study, the resear-
the population. This situation has brought about
to retain the synagogue which is being abandoned.
chers reconstructed the demographic state of the
a decline in the number of Jews in the world. Until
There were two other synagogues in Newfoundland
Jewish people in the Diaspora over the last 200
recently, the accepted estimate of the Jewish
in
Stephenville
and Corner Brook - and they closed ma
years. Their findings were revealing: According
population was about 11.5 million. However, re-
years ago.
to the data, the Jews of Eastern Europe and those
search results show that there are even fewer, and
There is a sad definition for such occurrences in
countries dominated by the Ottoman Empire
if this trend continues until the end of the century,
statement in a comment thilt was made a short time ago
lived a traditional lifestyle, principally char-
the Jewish population in the year 2000 will be only
Continued on Page 11
acterized by a strong tendency to marry young
eight million. by 2025 the Jewish populataion in
CHANGES IN WORLD JEWISH POPUL ATION. 1970-1980
and a very high birthrate. In the 1870s, says Prof.
the Diaspora may shrink to six million. At that
(ROUGH ESTIMATES)
Bachi, unmarried women were less than one per-
time - if the present trend continues - the prop-
cent of the population. About 60 percent of the
ortion of elderly within the Jewish population
Type of Change
1971-1980
1971-1975
1976-I
Jewish girls were married before the age of 21.
will reach 29 percent, an unprecedented propor-
Those marriages were, of course, only within
Diaspora, total change
- 497
- 222
- 27
tion.
Natural and affiliative
- 280
Jewish circles.
- 82
- 19
There is a comforting note about Israel. There, too, the
Net aliyah .
- 217
- 140
- 7
Jewish birh rate is low. Yet there is a survivalism there Israel,
total change
+ 701
+ 377
+ 32
Statistical population figures quoted here are from the 1984 that relieves a bit of the tension.
Natural
+ 484
+ 237
+ 24
American Jewish Year Book, co-published by the Jewish
The sensationalism that attached to the Sephardi-
Net ahyah
+ 140
+ 217
+
Pulbication Society of America and the American Jewish Ashkenazi disputes also enters into the consideration and World, total changea
+ 204
+ 155
+ 4
the
Sephardi
World
analysis
is
therefore
valuable
to
the
Committee.
aI.e., natural change in Diaspora and Israel, of liative change in Diaspora.

Jewish population declines,
Israel figures are stable

WORLD JEWISH POPULATION,

Diaspora
Israel
World

1970
10,242
2,582
12,824

1970-1980

In Thousands
1980
1975
9,745
10,020
3,283
2,959
13,028
12,979

(ROUGH ESTIMATES)

Per Cent
1980
1970
79.9
74.8,
25.2
20.1
100.0
100.0

% Change
1970-1980
- 4.8
+ 27.1
+ 1.6

COUNTRIES WITH LARGEST JEWISH POPULATION (100,000 JEWS AND

ABOVE), 1980

Rank

Country
Jewish Population
nited States
5,690,000
Israel
3,282,700
2
3
Soviet Union
1,700,000
535,000
France
4
390.000
5
Great Britain
308.000
Canada
6
242,000
7
Argentina
110,009
8
Brazil
108,000
South Africa
9
Total 8 Largest Diaspora
9,083,000
Communities •
Total 9 Largest World
12;365,700
,Communities •

•% of Total Jewish Population:
In the Diaspora In the World
43 7
58.4
25.2
17.4
13.1
4.1
5.5
4.0
1 0
4-
; 2
1.5
0.8
1.1
0.8
1.1

.

'93.2

69.7

94.9

ESTIMATED JEWISH POPULATION, BY CONTINENTS AND. MAJOR

GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS,

Region
America, Totala
Northb
Central
South
Europe{ Totala
West
East & Balkansc
Asia, Total •
Israel
Restc
Africa, Total
North
South
Restd
Oceania
World

1980

Number
6,491,950
5,998,000
44,050
449,200
2,969,500
1,119,500
1,848,500
3,327,900
3,282,700
45,200
164,550
21,050
109,550
33,950
74,000
13,027,900

Per C'
49.8
46,1
0.3
3
2
8
14.
25.
25.
0:

0.

nc uding "
er countries.
bU.S.A. and Canada.

CThe Asian territories of USSR and Turkey are included in "East Europe and
Balkans."
dIncluding Ethiopia.

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