Jewish Journal

Israel and US Yom Kippur Fasting Rates Similar

by Pini Herman

September 27, 2012 | 11:59 am

While American and Israeli Jews live in widely divergent geographies and settings, Yom Kippur fasting rates may be significantly the same.  An almost identical majority of Jews in America and Israel may fast on Yom Kippur.

American Jews were asked whether they fast on Yom Kippur and 59 percent reported that they did on the 2000-1 National Jewish Population Survey with an estimated sampling error of 2%.

Israeli Jews were asked if they plan to fast on the Yom Kippurs of 2008, 2010 and 2012 and 63%, 61% and 64% said they would fast  with an sampling error of 5.7%.

Asking a person before Yom Kippur whether they fast or asking a person after Yom Kippur if they fasted are two very different things.  Intention versus actual performance.

Its not out of the realm of possibility that some Israelis who meant to fast, didn’t and the actual fasting percentage is even lower than the average 62.6% and could be as low as 57% while the American rate could be as high as 61%.  Unfortunately, the time periods are not identical and its not clear whether Israel is trending toward more observance and the U.S. to less among its Jews on Yom Kippur.

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is a past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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