matza passover pessah 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Nearly one of every five new olim will not be attending a Pessah Seder next
Monday night, and almost two-thirds of the Israelis holding the ceremonial meal
do so primarily on the grounds of family values, Jewish culture or tradition, a
new survey released on Sunday revealed.
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With the Jewish holiday of
freedom around the corner, the Bina Center – which combines Jewish identity and
Hebrew culture with social activeness and empowerment – recently commissioned
the Geocartography Knowledge Group to survey 500 Israelis on their habits and
attitudes toward the Seder, which combines the fundamental commandment of
retelling the biblical story of the Exodus from Egyptian slavery with a meal
alluding to the bygone Pessah sacrifice.
Nearly all Israelis who defined themselves as religious or haredi will be
participating in a Seder, and just over 1 percent of those with a “traditional”
religious inclination won’t be at one.
Some 12% of the secular people
surveyed won’t be holding a Seder, a figure comprising 18% of the new olim
surveyed, in contrast to only 6% of the Israeli-born populace.
As for why
Israelis hold or attend a Seder, 39% of those who defined themselves secular
explained it as part of the Jewish tradition, 26% said it’s a pleasant family
event, 14% because of a connection to Jewish culture, and 9% linked it to faith
and fulfilling the commandment.
From among the religious and haredi
Israelis, faith and the mitzva were the primary motivation to holding a Seder
(75%), with a significant 18% noting the connection to tradition, and 6% stating
the event as one connecting to Jewish culture. None of the religious and haredi
Israelis hold a Seder because it’s first and foremost a “pleasant family
From amongst the traditional Israelis, an almost equal number
noted religious observance (39%) and Jewish tradition (43%) as their Seder
motivation, with 10% citing Jewish culture and another 8% stressing the family
Of respondents with higher education, 18% noted Jewish
culture as the dominant Seder factor, while 7% of those without a college degree
stressed that element. People with a monthly income of at least NIS 12,000 were
more than twice as inclined to hold the Seder for cultural reasons than those
with a take-home pay of less than NIS 8,000, the rates standing at 16% and 9%
Eran Baruch, the head of Bina, said on Sunday that “the
fact that two-thirds of the Jewish public in Israel holds a Seder as a family
event, or linked to Jewish culture and tradition, underlines the relevance and
vitality of Judaism to the general Israeli public.
“At the same time,” he
continued, “the fact that 18% of new olim do not mark the holiday in any way is
very worrying, and indicates a trend of severe alienation experienced by the
immigrants toward Judaism and the rabbinical establishment, which represents
Judaism to them.”