09/13/2010, 00.00
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Almost half of Israeli Jews secular

A survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicates that 42 per cent of adult Jews feel secular, but a strong underlying religiosity remains even if closely tied to the main festivities and special occasions. About 72 per cent say they were in a synagogue at least once in the past year. Compared to the past, 21 per cent feels more religious, 14 per cent feels less.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Secularists are the most consistent group in Israel even though they are not the majority. Nevertheless, the country’s religious character remains on a solid foundation. Such a profile comes from a recent survey by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

The results indicate that 42 per cent of the Jewish population see themselves as secular, according to the study conducted among Jews 20 and over. Eight per cent of Israeli Jewish adults define themselves as ultra-Orthodox, 12 per cent as religious, 13 per cent as traditional-religious, and 25 per cent as traditional but "not very religious,"

Some 21 per cent are more religious than in the past against 14 per cent who are less religious. About 72 per cent said they had visited a synagogue over the previous year.

Among secular respondents, 24 per cent reported that they had attended synagogue on Rosh Hashanah (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) or both, 26 per cent said they fasted on Yom Kippur, 82 per cent regularly conduct a Seder at Passover and 17 per cent build a Sukkah (hut) to commemorate the wondering in the wilderness.

Some 67 per cent of secular respondents light candles at Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) and 29 per cent do the same at Shabbat (Saturday).

Among secular and traditional respondents, 52 per cent light Shabbat candles at home but only 11 per cent refrain from travelling by car on Shabbat.

The rate of kashrut observance in the two groups collectively is 48 per cent during Passover and 33 per cent during the year as a whole.

Among adult Israeli Jewish men, 23 per cent go to synagogue daily, and 25 per cent do so only on Shabbat and/or holidays, and 16 per cent on special occasions. Conversely, 24 per cent do not visit a synagogue at all.

Among women, 31 per cent go to synagogue on Shabbat and/or holidays, 18 per cent only on special occasions and 32 per cent not at all.

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