By 2003, Israel will finally have fulfilled thedreams of its founders when it overtakes the United States to becomehome to the largest number of Jews in the world.
This, according to the Institute of the WorldJewish Congress, which is to publish the new Jewish populationstatistics in its updated "Jewish Communities of the World."
Since the last survey, published two years ago,the United States' Jewish population has decreased by 200,000, whileIsrael's has grown by 300,000. Today, according to the institute,there are around 700,000 more Jews living in the United States thanin Israel.
The WJC institute puts today's world Jewishpopulation at 13.8 million. Fifty years ago, after the Holocaust,that number was estimated at 11 million.
The following eight countries have Jewishpopulations in excess of 200,000. Together, they total 92 percent ofthe world's 13.8 million Jews:
United States 5,600,000
50 Years of Aliyah: Countries Yielding the Most,1948-1998
Soviet Union (and successor states) 915,713
United States 75,075
Information from JTA
Graph by Carvin Knowles
If you missed the first two parts of the SkirballCultural Center's excellent series "Archaeology of Ancient Lands,"you won't won't to miss the last two. On Feb. 19, Dr. Bruce Zuckermanwill discuss how high-tech methods have unlocked hidden meanings inthe Dead Sea Scrolls (see 7 Days in the Arts for more). On Feb. 26,Dr. Giora Solar, Getty Center conservationist, will discuss effortsto preserve the great remnants of the past. Call (310) 440-4500 formore information.
Making the Grade
Bad news comes with a bang, good news with awhimper. So it was last December, when KCBS news reported withfanfare and portent that Canter's Deli received low marks from countyhealth inspectors.
So where was KCBS when that venerable Los Angelesinstitution, whose south exterior wall displays an expansive mural ofthe history of Jewish Los Angeles, recently received the highestgrade possible from the health police? On Feb. 3, Canter's got an"A." The restaurant also hired an independent health auditor andprovides ongoing classes in Spanish and English, taught by afood-safety expert, to all food handlers. For more information, callCanter's at (213) 651-2030.
Does Israel Matter?
Amid the hoopla and whoopee surrounding Israel's50th birthday, you might be relieved to know that somebody, somewhereis using the milestone as an opportunity for serious reflection."Israel at 50: A Nation Like All Other Nations" is the title of anupcoming lecture series at UCLA Hillel, featuring leading analystsand rabbis. First up, on Feb. 18, is Dr. David Hartman, who discusses"Israel: State of the Jews or a Jewish State." Hartman, who will beprofiled in The Jewish Journal this month, is one of Israel's mostinfluential and outspoken thinkers. On Feb. 25, Stuart Schoffman,associate editor of the Jerusalem Report and occasional JewishJournal contributor, will speak on "Which Promised Land? The NewRelationship Between Israel and the Diaspora." On March 4, RabbisShlomo Riskin, Elliot Dorff and Richard Levy will discuss "Pluralismin Judaism: What Unites Us, What Divides Us." All lectures take placeat 7:30 p.m. at UCLA Hillel, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. Call (310)208-3081 for tickets and information.