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The Bible. Belongs to all Photo: Herzl Yosef
The Bible. Belongs to all Photo: Herzl Yosef
 
 

'People connected to Jewish heritage'

Poll shows 63% of Israeli Jews studied Holy Scriptures in recent months, 90% keep a Bible at home and most consider it to be 'book of Jewish people's heritage'

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 06.01.09, 14:44 / Israel Jewish Scene

Is Jewish identity in crisis? Apparently not: A survey published last week ahead of Shavuot revealed that 95% of the Jewish public in Israel keep either a Bible, a Pentateuch or a Siddur at home and 63% studied Jewish texts in the last six months, many of them on a daily basis.

 

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The survey, which was carried out by the Panels Institute, encompassed 529 respondents that are a representative sample of the Jewish Israeli adult population.

 

The participants were asked which Jewish texts they held at home. Ninety percent replied that they have a Bible, 65% have a Siddur, 47% have a Pentateuch, while 5% don't own any of the aforementioned books.

 

Another question sought to establish the frequency in which people read the Holy Scriptures. Some 22% of the respondents said they read Jewish texts on a daily basis and 41% said they have done so within the last six months.

 

Transformation in recent years

And what does the Book of Books symbolize for the Israeli public? Eighty percent consider it as the book of the Jewish people's heritage; 10% defined it as a book that binds people to the Halacha; 7% said it was "a collection of legends written by human authors"; and the rest did not agree with any of these definitions.

 

An analysis of the results revealed that among all sectors, be it ultra-orthodox, religious or secular, the perception of the Bible as the "book of Jewish heritage" was the most popular.

 

Eli Barkat, chairman of the Israel Batei Midrash Network, said: "The poll shows that the people of Israel are connected to their Jewish heritage and attribute great meaning to the Jewish texts.

 

"The transformation that has occurred in recent years in the perception of Shavuot as a holiday of Torah study for the entire people, whether religious or non-religious, is reflected in the survey's findings."

 

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