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Kris
June 16th, 2003, 05:52 AM
June 16, 2003

City Milestone: Number of Jews Is Below Million

By JOSEPH BERGER

The Jewish population of New York City has fallen by 5 percent since 1991, dipping below one million for the first time in a century, according to a roughly once-a-decade study that is being released today by the UJA-Federation of New York.

But Jews who left the city seemed to stay in the area, because the Jewish population has risen by a corresponding amount in three suburban counties in New York state.

The study, regarded as the most authoritative count of the Jewish population, said there were 972,000 Jews in New York City in 2002. That was a moderate drop from the 1990's and 1980's but less than half the peak of two million living in the five boroughs in the late 1950's. The study also showed that the decline would have been steeper if not for an influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union during the 1990's.

But the addition of those immigrants now totaling 186,000 a sluggish economy and an aging population helped to more than double the rate of poverty among the city's Jews since 1991, according to the survey. One in five Jewish households in New York City one in six if three suburban counties are included reports an income that meets a commonly accepted definition of poverty.

Overall, the Jewish population in the eight-county region covered by UJA-Federation the five counties of the city as well as Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties has remained stable at about 1.4 million, as many successful Jews left the city to settle in the nearby suburbs. The growth in Westchester's Jewish population is particularly striking, climbing 40 percent since 1991.

The study's figures suggest pivotal changes in an ethnic and religious group that has helped shape the culture, music, language and very accent of the city itself. Some experts say the decline within the city will have repercussions for Jewish political representation and influence. Edward I. Koch, the former mayor, said he expected the decline to moderate the generally liberal tinge of city politics, a trend that he said would be enhanced because Russian Jews are often more conservative because of their experience with Communism.

"The Jews have set the philosophical agenda based on their history, the idea of `We have to take care of everybody' and `Justice, justice,' " he said. "I think there will be less of that."

But others cautioned that making predictions about Jewish influence on the basis of population numbers can be tricky. Dr. Jacob B. Ukeles, who along with Dr. Ron Miller was the study's principal investigator, said that Jews had been leaving the city at a lower rate than other non-Hispanic whites, and so constitute an increasing share now almost 35 percent of the city's white population. Others pointed out that exit polls in 1992 and 2001 show that Jews, who vote at a higher-than-average rate, comprise an increasing percentage of all voters.

The study contained other significant findings for the Jewish community. The proportion of Jews who call themselves Orthodox has increased sharply over the decade, to 19 percent from 13 percent. The proportions of Reform and Conservative Jews have fallen accordingly. The rate of interfaith marriage, which rose sharply in the 1970's, has stabilized, the study found, with 13 percent of Jews marrying someone of another faith.

Since the United States Census does not ask religious questions, the survey is likely to be the gold-standard measure of Jewish population in New York City and the three suburban counties. The study was based on telephone interviews with 4,533 randomly selected households conducted between March and September 2002. It has a margin of error for various parts of 1.8 to 2.7 percentage points.

Dr. Ukeles pointed out that given the margin of error, the Jewish population for the city might be seen as holding steady.

Nevertheless, Jewish communal leaders have been anticipating the results for months and many understood that a figure below one million would be a significant milestone in the city's Jewish history. In the first decade of the 1900's, when Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia immigrated to the United States in large numbers, the Jewish population grew from 600,000 to 1,250,000, according to the primitive estimates at that time. It continued to flourish and in 1957 was counted at just over two million, meaning that one out of four New Yorkers was Jewish, compared with one in eight today.

But an increase in Jewish affluence as well as a surge in citywide crime and turmoil, led to an exodus of Jews to the suburbs, particularly from the Bronx in the 1970's. (Today, the Bronx has approximately 45,000 Jews, scarcely more than Staten Island, with 42,000 Jews, up 27 percent in the last decade.)

By 1981, the Jewish population stood at 1.1 million. By 1991, that figure was at 1.027 million.

Although the study did not look at New Jersey or Connecticut and other New York counties, the American Jewish Yearbook shows that in 2001, there were 417,000 Jews in northeastern New Jersey, 90,000 in Rockland County, N.Y., and about 62,000 Jews in the Connecticut communities of New Haven, Bridgeport, Westport, Stamford and Greenwich.

The Jewish population of the United States was put at 5.5 million on the last completed study, taken in 1990, Dr. Ukeles said. A tentative study released last October put the national Jewish population at 5.2 million, but the study's methods and definitions have been questioned.

The new study of the New York area was designed in part to alert Jewish communal agencies how to tend to the population and from that point of view, the new poverty figures surprised many. Dr. Ukeles blamed much of the increase in poverty on the economy and on an increase in the proportion of immigrants, who tend to be poorer at least for their first few years in the country. But stories like that of Cathy Markowitz show that other factors come into play as well.

Mrs. Markowitz, the mother of three teenage boys, said she had been living a solid middle-class life in a house in Baldwin on Long Island when her husband, an accountant, suffered a severe stroke in 2000. She discovered that his health insurance was not paid up and that he had not put away enough money to care for his family. Now divorced, she receives Medicaid and food stamps and earns $24,000 a year as a medical receptionist.

"All Jewish people are not wealthy," she said. "What happened to me can happen to anybody."

The study found that engagement in Jewish religious and communal life remains very high, with 92 percent in the 8 counties saying that the survival of Israel was very important to them, and 86 percent saying it was very important to help struggling or endangered Jews.

In New York City, and particularly Manhattan, Jews consider it less important to belong to a synagogue than do Jews in other parts of the country. Dr. Ukeles speculated that the smaller numbers of synagogue affiliation may be because of the many Jewish cultural offerings in the city that fill the need for Jewish identification. Still, only 16 percent of respondents in the 8 counties said they never attend synagogue during the year.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

billyblancoNYC
June 16th, 2003, 10:09 AM
Damn the 'burbs.

enzo
June 19th, 2003, 10:36 PM
Interesting, but I think there are far more Jews here than can be statistically counted given that many of us are "half-breeds" or simply not immersed in the traditional community. I have never been officially asked to "count" myself as Jewish so.....

Anecdotally-I am 1/2 Jewish by my mother yet non-religious and not involved in any specific Jewish groups so therefore not counted. Of my immediate friends I can think of no less than a dozen in similar situations.

Kris
June 20th, 2003, 05:38 AM
June 20, 2003

Who Is a Jew?

To the Editor:

The study described in "City Milestone: Number of Jews Is Below Million" (news article, June 16) does a fine job of showing that New York Jewish life has undergone a significant shift in the last decade. But it also invites us to go a step further and ask: How do we gauge, in a free and open society, who is Jewish and who is not?

For many, their connection to Judaism is highly personal and their sense of membership is defined in their own terms. There are many ways to measure, but increasingly the most compelling form of identity is self-identification.

What if the only criterion used was the question: How do you self-identify? Chances are we'd see a very different kind of picture. The real challenge is to construct a Jewishness that integrates the many responses so as to create a truly pluralist vision of Jewish life.

(Rabbi) IRWIN KULA

New York, June 16, 2003

The writer is president of CLAL the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

enzo
June 22nd, 2003, 02:25 AM
Good letter-where did you find that Christian?

I find in NY these days that defining who is a Jew is increasingly difficult. IMO it's a good thing and a natural side effect of a prosperous melting pot where cultures have merged but not disappeared. You seem to hear a lot more about the Jewish factions who only condone marriages to other Jews, think of Israel as the "homeland" and strive to maintain some sort of pure culture but I think there are a lot more of us around with a multi-cultural background. Puerto Rican Jews, Italian Jews, Brazillian Jews, Jamaican Jews!

I'll be further mixing the gene pool when I marry a Romany girl (Gypsy)-and those roots go to India! But our kids will still have some Jew in them and have to deal with a mitzvah!

Sure, I still embrace my Jewish heritage but I've never thought of Israel as my "homeland" and have never felt compelled to be philanthropic towards it.

Katz's is all the religion and "promised land" a lot of us need!

Kris
June 22nd, 2003, 08:42 AM
I found it on the Times editorial page.

LeCom
November 24th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Duh, all of them went to Fair Lawn New Jersery.

Also, nearly every Jewish person in New Jersey that I know of lived in Brooklyn at one point of time, unless they were born in their 'burb.

MrSpice
November 24th, 2005, 01:54 PM
First of all, this article is 2-years old. Secondly, there are lot sof jews and hlf-jews in the city that were not included in this survey. How did they count the number of Jews? The federal census count is very inaccurate since many people simply don't feel out these forms. Hundreds of thousands of Jews came from Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union in the 80s and 90s and still keep coming. Many of these people are old and don't speak good english and are not likely to participate in any survey. I would guess the actual nubmber of Jews is much higher in this city.

Ninjahedge
November 25th, 2005, 12:45 PM
I think the bottom line comes down to:

WHO CARES!!!!!!


They are Jewish, right? Does that mean that they should be treated like they were some kind of different species?

I hate all these counts designed to outline demographics in cities. They invariably lead to political and commercial segregation.

ZippyTheChimp
November 25th, 2005, 05:14 PM
^
"Who cares" is your bottom lone, but it is not the bottom line.

You have iinterpreted the tone of the article as one of ethnic entitlement or conflict.

I read it as an attempt to measure possible changes that may affect the entire city:

The study's figures suggest pivotal changes in an ethnic and religious group that has helped shape the culture, music, language and very accent of the city itself. Some experts say the decline within the city will have repercussions for Jewish political representation and influence. Edward I. Koch, the former mayor, said he expected the decline to moderate the generally liberal tinge of city politics, a trend that he said would be enhanced because Russian Jews are often more conservative because of their experience with Communism

redhot00
November 25th, 2005, 05:25 PM
I agree with Zippy, Ninja, we should all care. The City of New York is what it is because of it's ethnic groups. Changes and shifts in the numbers among those groups mean changes in the dynamic of the city. Therefore, we should all care.

Ninjahedge
November 25th, 2005, 06:32 PM
No, who cares if one group moves out and another comes in?

If you are so concerned that somehow all of New York will be changed if all the Jewish people leave for the Burbs, then that is your problem.

It is an indication that New York is always changing. From the Irish to the Italian to the newest Slavics in the outer boroughs, it is always there.

And you also missed one important point.

Since when is Judaesim a race?

ZippyTheChimp
November 25th, 2005, 06:49 PM
No, who cares if one group moves out and another comes in?


Since when is Judaesim a race?
It is not a race issue; it is one of demographics.
As these demographics change, the political landscape changes.
Education, social services, etc, must be adjusted.

Nowhere in the article was the change lamented; it was merely tabulated.

Ninjahedge
November 28th, 2005, 08:46 AM
Zip, you know as well as I that nothing has to be mentioned to be implied.

What was the first thing you thought of when you read the title "Number of Jews below 1 Mil"?

You know that is a "Glass half empty" statement.

if they were really concerned about making a truly unbiased statement, they would have been talking about how the Jewish population has been spreading out, not how they have been leaving NYC.


OMG!!! NYC is changing!!!!



Again.

ZippyTheChimp
November 28th, 2005, 09:46 AM
What was the first thing you thought of when you read the title "Number of Jews below 1 Mil"?That the number of Jews leaving NYC is greater than the number moving to NYC.

if they were really concerned about making a truly unbiased statement, they would have been talking about how the Jewish population has been spreading out, not how they have been leaving NYC.
Did you actually read the article, or just skim over it when you thought you knew what it was about after reading the title?

From the article:
But Jews who left the city seemed to stay in the area, because the Jewish population has risen by a corresponding amount in three suburban counties in New York state.


Zip, you know as well as I that nothing has to be mentioned to be implied.
Please don't presume to know what I think.

Ninjahedge
November 28th, 2005, 10:28 AM
I am not presuming anything zip.

You are telling me what you think.

I am just talking about what the article is saying, and how it says it. You know as well as I that what a news article says in it's title and first few paragraphs shapes a readers impression of what the rest of the article is viewed as.

AAMOF, you guys even change the title of threads here so as to not give the "wrong impression" to people out here, even if that impression is what is originally meant to be conveyed.

So the article is saying the Jewish population is leaving NYC. they LATER say that it is moving elsewhere. It singles out one demographic group that was never really a majority, save in a few neighborhoods, and makes a story from it.

What about the Korean population? If they feel that this change in demographic is so important, why address only one religion, and not look to the larger issue of the continuing metamorphosis of NYC as a whole?

I know why. because the title "Jews drop below 1 million" will get more readers.


;)


Lighten up chimpy! As soon as you think someone is challenging your sanity you get all Russel Crow-ey.

/me removes phone from lobby.

Xmas13
August 3rd, 2006, 04:11 PM
Ninjahedge, stop playing the bigot. No one forced you to read that article or the thread, or even post in it to tell Jews what they have to think. I was looking for a census of NY Jews and landed here. Fine, your comments ruined an interesting discussion between Jews, since obviously no one except Jews, local politicians and bigots care about such census made by Jewish organizations.

I'm glad our population stabilized, which is mainly due to the growth of Orthodox Jews and immigration of Israelis in NY metro area.

Am Yisrael Chai!!





PS: i know the thread is old, sorry for bumping it ;)

kliq6
August 3rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
Jews like Italians and Iish, the old school NY ethnic groups have been dwindling down for years, there use to be i million Italians now only half that.

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 04:57 PM
Ninjahedge, stop playing the bigot. No one forced you to read that article or the thread, or even post in it to tell Jews what they have to think. I was looking for a census of NY Jews and landed here. Fine, your comments ruined an interesting discussion between Jews, since obviously no one except Jews, local politicians and bigots care about such census made by Jewish organizations.

HOLY crap batman!

Want to bring up an arguement that was dead for 8 months? GJ!!!!

I am not telling anyone how to think, but expressing my dissatisfaction that peopel think this way. The whole arguement was along the lines of selective reasoning and representation. The root of teh arguement being, what is bad about the declared Jewish population in NYC going below 1M? Is it that important? What made it so important as to be sited in such a way?

And thank you so ever loving much for calling me an ass.


I'm glad our population stabilized, which is mainly due to the growth of Orthodox Jews and immigration of Israelis in NY metro area.

Our? Are you being segregational? What is wrong with other peoples in your neighborhoods? What would change if the people living next door to you wer no longer Jewish? Would that change your life? Do you feel that threatened by it?


Am Yisrael Chai!!

Yipee.


PS: i know the thread is old, sorry for bumping it ;)

Don't worry about it.

Its nothing... :rolleyes:

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 04:59 PM
Jews like Italians and Iish, the old school NY ethnic groups have been dwindling down for years, there use to be i million Italians now only half that.

That is what I am saying.

That is teh feeling I have, and while I lament the dwindling of Little Italy, I do not look at the new demographic and say "well there goes the neighborhood".

It is not a bad thing to have change sometimes, especially when a lot of the jewish families are not fleeing, but moving to where they WANT to be. (It is not like anyone is telling them to leave NYC, noone that I know at least. If you find someone that is, let me know, I wil have more than a word with them...:mad: )

Hoboken411
August 18th, 2006, 12:45 PM
For Hoboken specifcally, does anyone know the firm number / percentages of Jewish residents?

I couldn't find actual religious demographics for Hoboken.

ablarc
August 18th, 2006, 02:30 PM
I couldn't find actual religious demographics for Hoboken.
Best I could find was 1300 Jews in 1948 out of a population of 50,115, and 750 Jews in 1988 out of about 33,400. Don't know if that's membership or population. Not a lot.