How Many US Jews - 5.3 Million or 6.5 Million?
After the Akeida, Hashem promises Avraham:
A new report claims that there are more Jews in the US than in Israel. It says that there are (Beli Ayin Hara) 6.5 million Jews in the US. Earlier reports have stated that Israel had surpassed the US in the number of Jews as there are only 5.3 million US Jews. Israel has a reported 5,660,700 Jews.כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ, וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְכַחוֹל, אֲשֶׁר עַל-שְׂפַת הַיָּם
that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore
Why the discrepancy? The article explains:
The difference is in the methodology.
“While the World Report uses national studies for its estimate, the U.S. Report sums up estimates of the Jewish population in over 1,000 local Jewish communities to develop a national estimate,” said Sheskin.
Some commenters have suggested that one report counts Jews who are not halachicly Jewish, while the other does not. Also, I don't know if there's double-counting going on or not. Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, all we know is that we really don't know.
This is a shame because for Geula-watchers (like me), these numbers are important. There was a lot of excitement when Israel supposedly surpassed the US's Jewish population. It meant that we were getting closer to the time when the majority of Jews of the world would be living in Israel. That milestone, when it happens, carries with it a number of halachic and nationalistic ramifications.
The new report throws a monkey wrench into the idea that this will happen by the year 2030, as this article predicted. Let us hope that the ultimate Aliya catalyst will speed things up dramatically. No, I'm not talking about Obama winning again in 2012. I'm talking about the coming of Mashiah Tzidkeinu - it should happen speedily in our days. Amen.