This paper deals with three issues: numbers of Israelis, secular social characteristics of Israelis, and Jewishness of Israelis. With respect to the first and third of these issues, the findings presented here are greatly at variance with popular perceptions. There are many fewer Israelis than is usually estimated, and they are far more traditionally religious than is usually thought. Why the discrepancies between popular judgment and data-based estimates is itself an interesting question.
American Jewish estimators no doubt remember meeting Israelis more than they remember encountering local Jews. The purportedly ubiquitous Israeli taxi driver in New York turns out to be a myth (see Korazim and Freedman in this section). Those who exist are simply more likely to be remembered by their New York Jewish passengers. Israeli estimators make a moral point when they present their numbers. Those who do not succumb to the lure of the golden exile are morally superior. Their superiority grows with the growth in the number ofyordim.
On the question of Jewishness, here, too, I propose selective misperception. The Orthodox Israelis settle in Orthodox communities in New York. In many ways, Boro Park and B'nai Brak have more to do with one another than either has with its secular conationals. The Orthodox Israelis do not become part of the community of “uprooted” Israelis who seek ways of remaihing Israelis while yet abroad. The Orthodox Israelis, by virtue of their integration into the local Orthodox network, do not seek services and other resources from the larger Jewish community. Thus they remain invisible to the “secular” Jewish agencies and “secular” observers. The visible Israelis are the secular Israelis, but their number and proportion are both exaggerated.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Elizur, Dov. 1980. “Israelis in the United States.” InAmerican Jewish Yearbook 80:53–67.Google Scholar
- Goren, Arthur. 1980. “Jews.” InHarvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephan Thernstrom et al., 571–98. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Guttman, Louis, and Elizur, Dov. 1972. “Factors Influencing the Reimmigration of Israelis Living Abroad.” InThe Israel Yearbook, pp. 141-43. Jerusalem.Google Scholar
- Herman, Pini, and LaFontaine, David. 1982. “In Our Footsteps: Israeli Migration to the United States and Los Angeles.” Master’s thesis, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the University of Southern California.Google Scholar
- Kass, Drora, and Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1982. “Jewish Immigration to the United States from 1967 to the Present: Israelis and Others.” InUnderstanding American Jewry, ed. Marshall Sklare, 272–94. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books.Google Scholar
- Nahshon, Gad. 1976. “Israelis in American.”Midstream 22, no. 8 (October).Google Scholar
- Passel, Jeffrey S. 1983. Personal communication to Pini Herman, May 19.Google Scholar
- Ritterband, Paul. 1978.Education, Employment and Migration. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ritterband, Paul, and Cohen, Steven M. 1984.The Jewish Population of Greater New York:A Profile. New York: Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.Google Scholar
- Shemer, Naomi. 1982. “New Babylon,” recorded in collection, El Borot Ha’Mayim. Tel Aviv: CBS Records.Google Scholar
- Warren, Robert, and Passel, Jeffrey S. 1983. “Estimates of Illegal Aliens from Mexico Counted in the 1980 United States Census.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America.Google Scholar
- Waxman, Chaim. 1983.American’s Jews in Transition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar