Thursday, January 26, 2012

Israelis' Belief and Observance at Minha Gedola Exceeding Hatzot Levels

Source: English PDF of the report, p. 51

The third Guttman-Avi Chai Report came out and the numbers look good for Torah-based belief and observance in Israel.  Apparently, there was a decline in the 1990s until 2000, but since then, the numbers have climbed and by 2009, have exceeded the 1991 levels.

In regards to belief in the coming of Mashiah, the numbers vastly differ from another poll that I mentioned in 2006.  I wonder why such a huge discrepancy.  The 2006 number (43%) is lower than the 1999 number (45%), but then climbed way up to 55% in 2009?  It doesn't make sense unless something beyond reason is occurring.

Yeshaya 11:9:

כִּי-מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ, דֵּעָה אֶת-יְהוָה, כַּמַּיִם, לַיָּם מְכַסִּים
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

11 Comments:

At Thu Jan 26, 01:13:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

from the report:

"e proportion of men and women was similar in all surveys
■ In the 2009 survey, respondents were slightly older than in the 1991 and 1999 surveys (a
slightly higher percentage of those aged 50+).
■ There was a slightly lower percentage of Ashkenazim in the 2009 survey than in 1999 and a
slightly higher percentage of children of mixed parentage (both Ashkenazi and Mizrahi).
■ In the 2009 survey, the percentage of subjects with university degrees was substantially
higher than in the 1999 survey and especially in the 1991 survey. Correspondingly, the
percentage of 2009 respondents with less than 12 years of schooling was lower than that in
the 1999 and 1991 surveys."

perhaps different demographics in 2009 could account for this, before leaping to "something beyond reason is occurring"?

 
At Thu Jan 26, 02:16:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

"university degrees substantially higher" is usually a sign of skepticism toward religion - not the opposite. ואעפ"כ, there was a jump in belief. You just proved my point.

 
At Thu Jan 26, 03:49:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

No, I really didn't.

Perhaps it is the Ashkenazim as a difference, or the age? Or maybe your assumptions about university are flawed? What was the demographic makeup of the 2006 study, which was conducted by other people, such that the drop may not be indicative of anything? If we toss out 2006, then from 1999 to 2009 is ten years. Perhaps sociologically, something happened during those ten years that could account for this change? For instance, the growing influence of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak?

Once again, I think you are too hasty to jump to the idea that "something beyond reason is occurring".

kt,
josh

 
At Thu Jan 26, 03:49:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Yonatan said...

I agree yaak...

 
At Thu Jan 26, 04:05:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

No, I really didn't.

Yeah, you really did.

Perhaps it is the Ashkenazim as a difference, or the age?

Those differences were slight, as opposed to the "substantially
higher" difference in university degrees.

Or maybe your assumptions about university are flawed?

Oh, really?

See this Harvard study which is quoted by Wikipedia which says just that in its conclusion (p. 29/pdf p.31):

At the same time, there is a strong negative connection between attendance and education
across religious groups within the U.S. and elsewhere. We think that this is explained by
the fact that education also appears to decrease religious belief. This negative impact on
beliefs means that more educated people sort into denominations with lower beliefs. If
people sort across denominations on the basis of their beliefs, the negative relationship
between education and beliefs at the denomination level can explain why education
reduces religiosity at the denomination level.


What was the demographic makeup of the 2006 study, which was conducted by other people, such that the drop may not be indicative of anything?

But unless there was a major flaw in the way they conducted the study, the 2 studies should at least be close. Instead, it jumped 12 points in 3 years!

If we toss out 2006, then from 1999 to 2009 is ten years. Perhaps sociologically, something happened during those ten years that could account for this change? For instance, the growing influence of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak?

But "the growing influence of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak" and those like him is included in things that I call "beyond reason".

 
At Thu Jan 26, 05:13:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"Those differences were slight, as opposed to the "substantially
higher" difference in university degrees."

But those differences were slight between the specified years, not the 2006 study.

And note that this was only conducted in Russian and Hebrew. Was the 2006 study conducted on Russian and Israeli Jews solely?

"But "the growing influence of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak" and those like him is included in things that I call "beyond reason"."

Why would that be 'beyond reason'? A motivational personality influencing people is beyond reason?

 
At Thu Jan 26, 05:34:00 PM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Both studies were professionally done and designed to take a representative sample, irrespective of language used. I would understand a 3-4 point difference, but 12 points?

Re: Rav Amnon, Rav Elbaz, and all the Kiruv professionals, I call being influenced by them "beyond reason" since proving the existance of G-d, belief in Mashiah, and the need to keep Torah and Mitzvot cannot be taught with reason alone. Reason does help, but faith is a necessary ingredient for anyone who is Mekurav by anybody.

It is therefore beyond reason that so many are returning to belief. It is nothing short of a miracle.

 
At Thu Jan 26, 10:13:00 PM 2012, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"Both studies were professionally done and designed to take a representative sample, irrespective of language used. I would understand a 3-4 point difference, but 12 points?"

A representative sample of what? The groups studied. You don't think there might be demographic and cultural differences between typical Israelis + Russian vs. Israelis + American olim? You don't think that the order of the questions and the specific phrasing could prime people to prefer specific answers? There is a reason that the single study across a long time with the same questions is useful -- for the sake of comparison.

"Reason does help, but faith is a necessary ingredient for anyone who is Mekurav by anybody."
Heh. I certainly wasn't suggesting that it is reason that convinces people to follow certain kiruv professionals. I don't do it, but many of their proofs are silly and readily debunkable. There are strong cultural and social reasons that make them successful.

Here is an article about the growth rate of 'messianic Jews', in Israel. That is, Jews for Yushkah. It is from 2008. Perhaps this accounts for the huge leap? Perhaps it is indicative of a a more general trend?

In Israel, a resurgence in the number of Jews who believe in Jesus is getting a lot of attention. Many leaders say it's the strongest growth since the time of Jesus and that the Messianic movement could be on the brink of a great revival.

Would you say that 'this does not make sense unless something beyond reason is occurring'? Would you consider it a 'miracle'?

Yes, I am being a bit harsh. Sorry.

--josh

 
At Thu Jan 26, 10:24:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Shiloh said...

Prior to, and after the time of 'j' there was great expectations and hope of a messiah type figure because of the troubles. As what is to come, has already been. So maybe we are simply experiencing another series of events which people see the coming desparation with the economies, with the threats of being destroyed, God forbid, etc. People turn to religion in such times.

 
At Fri Jan 27, 05:15:00 AM 2012, Blogger yaak said...

Yes, I am being a bit harsh. Sorry.
No, not harsh. Silly.

 
At Fri Jan 27, 07:11:00 AM 2012, Anonymous Yeah for Yaak said...

Go Yaak GO !

P. S. One of the best blogs that I read

 

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