Israeli-born Jews were found to be not a growing presence by the recently published New York Jewish Population Study. The number of Israeli-born Jews in New York declined 6.5 percent in the last decade since 2002 when 31,000 Jewish Israeli-borns were counted and 2011 when 29,000 were found.
This is additional key evidence that Israel is not losing population to the key Israeli migratory destination in the world, New York. The myth of mass Israeli migration has become an integral part of the Jewish civil religion recounting it’s own Exodus story. One has to wonder why, when in actuality Israel retains its native born at rates much better than most developed countries.
For a people, one of whose main narratives is migration, and now is the most popularly celebrated Jewish ritual in existence, its not surprising that when currently there may not be an “Egypt” to flee from, other venues, such as the U.S. (“next year in Jerusalem) and Israel may stand in for a place to exodus from. Unfortunately for popular beliefs, demography doesn’t seem to confirm the popular piety of Israeli Jews who remain in place and American Jews who viscerally react to Yordim, a pejorative for “those who go down” or fell off the Zionist wagon, that they fully intend to alight on in the future.
The other central narrative of Passover, “for you were slaves in Egypt” and it’s imperatives for social justice are much more achievable contemporarily than the demographic themes of of the holiday and that is perhaps the main true strength of the Jewish people as well the ability to engage in wishful thinking about migration and migratory opportunities.
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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org To follow Pini on Twitter: Follow @pinih