Photo: Visual/Photos
Most couples prefer anniversary
Photo: Visual/Photos
Traditional Tu B'Av celebration
Photo: Effi Sharir
Photo: Yoav Friedman
Shoshi Becker; don't shame those without
Photo: Yoav Friedman
Private anniversaries beat Tu B'Av, Valentines Day
Poll shows 58% of Israeli Jews prefer to celebrate their own anniversaries over Jewish, Christian love holidays

Tu B'Av beats Valentines Day, but private anniversaries are the leading holiday of love among Israeli Jews, according to Ynet's weekly Judaism poll in association with the Gesher organization.


According to the poll, 58% of couples celebrate their anniversary, while only 21% will be celebrating Tu B'Av on Monday.


The poll was conducted by the Mutagim Institute, among 500 respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult Hebrew-speaking Jewish population in Israel.


In response to the question: "What love holiday do you celebrate?" 58% of the respondent said they preferred their own anniversary. Twenty-one percent said they would celebrate Tu B'Av with their partner, and 13% celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14.


Twenty-six percent did not answer the question. It should be noted that part of the participants chose more than one answer.


A breakdown of the results by religious affiliation showed that private anniversaries prevailed among all sectors of the Israeli Jewish society, as 55% of secular Jews, 57% of traditional Jews, 61% of haredim and 64% of religious Jews chose their anniversary as the day to celebrate love.


Tu B'Av is least celebrated by haredim, with only 4%, as opposed to 18% - 31% among other respondents. As expected, Valentines Day is least popular among the religious and haredim, with only 1% of religious Jews celebrating the Christian holiday and 0% of haredim.


Money or a present?

The poll's second question asked respondents what they tend to give newlyweds as wedding gifts. Eighty-eight percent said that they usually gave money, and only 12% said they gave gifts.


Almost all secular and traditional Jews give money as a wedding gift (91%) compared to 85% of religious Jews and 71% haredim.


And how much do they give? A check in the average amount of NIS 401is the appropriate amount, according to the poll, but a simple analysis shows that one would be better off inviting seculars to their wedding, as they on average give the handsome sum of NIS 448 while haredim settle for less than half, with NIS 204. Traditional and religious Jews pay NIS 391 and NIS 366 on average respectively.


'Don't shame those without'

Gesher Director Shoshi Becker explained that the haredi tendency to give presents or more modest sums of money as wedding gifts to the many weddings they attend, is part of a culture that encourages simplicity and due to the sector's financial abilities.


"According to tradition, Israel's daughters would dress in white borrowed clothes on Tu B'Av so as not to shame those who do not have new clothes," Becker said, "this could be the time to bring back the lovely custom of not shaming those without, and lead a culture of simplicity at weddings, that does not take away from the love and the joy."


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