Haredi Growth Absent in Talk on Jewish Future

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Two panels debating a broad range of issues affecting the Jewish world took place at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, but one hot topic that was recently in the news received little attention.

“It was the elephant in the room,” said Dov Waxman, associate professor of political science at the City University of New York, who was in the audience. “The growing demographic weight of Orthodoxy and ultra-Orthodoxy as revealed in the recent UJA Federation study raises huge and fundamental questions about the Jewish future.

It has implications for federations to sustain themselves and also huge implications for the future political and cultural orientation of Jewish communities.”

Last week, new data released by the UJA-Federation of New York showed Orthodox and specifically haredi Jews were by far the single fastest growing demographic in the Jewish population of that city. According to the study, the 10 percent increase in the number of Jews living in the New York metropolitan area over the past decade – who now number 1.5 million – was largely due to high birth rates among the fervently religious.

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