The just-released Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011 clearly shows that the Jewish population decline in New York has been stemmed by large numbers of babies born to Orthodox families in America. The heroic fertility and educational efforts of Orthodox Jews — sometimes to the point of actual impoverishment — is legendary. Ironically, it is historically the Conservative and Reform Jewish movements that have unintentionally benefited from this Orthodox Jewish investment.
Interviewing Israel’s President Shimon Peres in the April 4 issue of Time magazine, a correspondent quoted the often-cited number in suggesting that 1 million Israelis live outside their native country: “It’s not as if Jews are flocking there [to Israel]. What do these demographics say about Israel’s future?” Peres, without disputing the reporter’s figure, responded: “Maybe we are swimming against the stream.”
What is the difference between a pit bull and a Jewish Mother? The pit bull eventually lets go.
Jonathan, my older son, recently cradled our 7-year-old Cavadoodle in his arms and made dog-year calculations in his head. “I don’t think Pawsy is going to have children, because he’s 49 years old,” he said. Then he looked at me. “Although you had me when you were 46,” he added.
Formal adult education in America is more than 100 years old as a popular concept, having started at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1907. As a Jewish concept, it is embedded in the Torah. Before going to the Holy of Holies in the Temple on Yom Kippur, the high priest would spend the night in study.