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“If I could travel forward in time —maybe a hundred years — and encounter a random group of young Jews who could trace their origins back to a Jewish family living in the UK in 2019, one thing is more or less certain. The Jewish family that they traced their origins back to would be significantly more likely to have been strictly Orthodox than anything else.
The strictly Orthodox simply have much better demographic prospects than other denominations. Charedi women, on average, have between six and seven children. Non-Charedi women have fewer than two. The Charedi population remains a minority in the Jewish population overall, but within about a decade, half of all Jewish children born in this country will be born into Charedi homes. The UK Charedi population has been doubling in size roughly every two decades for some time now, and even though they are still some way from becoming the majority, they are clearly heading in that direction. And Charedi Judaism is “stickier” than other forms; people leave that part of the community of course, but they leave other parts of the community in higher proportions, typically travelling in a more religiously liberal or secular direction.
So, in many respects, Melanie Phillips (JC December 7) is right. What is happening in the Charedi parts of the Jewish world today is a kind of “Yavneh”: a focused attempt to rebuild the Jewish world in the aftermath of a tremendous moment of destruction, the Shoah, not wholly dissimilar to Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s efforts after the destruction of the Temple in 70CE. Yavneh 2.0 draws today on three essential principles: an unrelenting emphasis on the strictest interpretation of Jewish law; a clear separation from wider society and the dangers that exist there; and a determination to replenish the Jewish population by creating large Jewish families.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
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"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."