Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is this the last generation of Jews in Britain?

Jonathan Wynne-Jones:

It is 350 years since Oliver Cromwell readmitted Jews to Britain, but a leading Israeli rabbi warns that Judaism here is now in imminent danger of extinction

Leading figures from Britain's Jewish community will join the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh this week at a glitzy ceremony at St James's Palace to mark the 350th anniversary of Cromwell's decision to allow Jews to return to these shores.

It is hard today to envisage British society without Jews. It is more than 100 years since Benjamin Disraeli became prime minister and there are Jews prominent in every profession and in every corner of British culture: from Lucian Freud, the artist, to Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedian; Harold Pinter, the playwright, to Harry Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice.

As the Government has conceded that it is time to reconsider the success of the multicultural experiment, Jews in Britain have provided the perfect example of an immigrant people able to retain their identity while playing a full part in society. However, their very success in assimilating into British life now appears to be threatening their survival in this country.

Earlier this month, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the world's leading Talmudic scholar, on a visit to Manchester from his home in Jerusalem, delivered an apocalyptic vision of Anglo-Jewry, warning that a once thriving community faces extinction.

"The Jewish community in England, as in other parts of Europe, is demographically unviable," he said. "It is a dying community, without even counting assimilation. They say that in order to remain stable, a community needs to average 2.2 children. I don't think this is the case in Anglo-Jewry. Whatever the figure, when you add the devastating devaluation of assimilation and intermarriage, it is becoming smaller all the time."

His comments are borne out by the decline in the outward expressions of Judaism, from weddings to synagogue attendance, and the disappearance of its cultural heritage, with Jewish architecture said to be more at risk than ever before.

It is the continual rise in the number of Jews marrying gentiles that poses the biggest challenge facing the community. In 1990, there were estimated to be about 340,000 Jews in Britain, but the population has declined by a fifth to only 270,000 today. According to the 1996 Jewish Policy Review, nearly one in two are marrying people who do not share their faith.

Steinsaltz's remarks about 'dying' UK Jewry spark blame game


At 1:35 PM, Anonymous big bill said...

What a b!tch! They have always wanted acceptance by Gentiles. Now they have it in spades, and they are dying out. Their women are all feminists (unless they are of the shaved head variety) who just don't want to make babies. Their children were told for years that halacha is pointless and backward. Now they can't see why they should even call themselves Jews, let alone marry one.

They have everything they wanted: total goy acceptance, modernism, a rejection of religious burdens and the Muslim-like oppression of women that went with it, neglect of their God-given roles as bringers of Godly enlightenment to the world. They have it all. And now they are dying out because they have nothing left to believe in except money and things.

And if THAT wasn't enough to back them into a corner, this past May at the AJC convention even Israelis Hillel Halkin and A.B. Yehoshua told them their lives were pointless and wasted living in the West -- in the galut -- and not in Israel.

See their description of the falling out between those safe in the galut, surrounded by de goyim and those who fight for a Jewish land and a Jewish identity at this link:


And now, to top it off, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the international rulers of all things Jewish-identity-wise, has called for preventing so-called "Jews" by conversion in the galut from making aliyah -- and this means ALL converted Jews: Orthodox, Morthodox, Reform, Conservative, Conservadox, Reconstructionist, it makes no differene! If you want to live and die nice-n-comfy in the galut with the gentiles, don't expect any respect from Jews that are living fully as Jews in Israel and wrestling with the big "Jewish questions" (as Yehoshua put it).

And, no, Abie, those big "Jewish questions" don't include "where to get good lox and bagels" or "where to get a cheap rock star for your son's bar mitzvah").

Tough times for Jews.


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