What has happened to the religious Jewish life to the immigrant families that landed in New York City 100 years ago?
Examples of what has happened to Jews in New York City:
Friday, March 4, 2016
Guest Post: Greek Jews Syrian Jews
* * * Greek NYC Jews and Syrian NYC Jews * * *
a short historical essay by
the moderator of the Derech Emet Yahoo Group:
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Over the past 35 years, I noticed that the highest intermarriage rates [between Jews and non-Jews] are found in communities where Reform Judaism is most dominant, and the lowest intermarriage rates are found in communities where Reform Judaism does not exist.
Around the 1920s [of the Common Era], tens of thousands of Jews came from Greece to New York City, and tens of thousands of Jews came from Syria to New York City. In the 1920s, the numbers of Greek Jews and Syrian Jews in New York City were approximately equal. Their observance of Jewish rituals was also approximately equal.
Around that time, the Greek Jews of NYC decided to follow Reform Judaism, while the Syrian Jews followed Orthodox Judaism.
By the 1980s, the Greek Jews of NYC [and the USA] were so few in number that there was only ONE Greek Synagogue in NYC, and that ONE Greek Synagogue functioned mostly as a museum. The very few Greek Jews of NYC were intermarrying with Gentiles at a very high rate, and very few participated in any kind Jewish activities. One Greek Jew who I personally spoke to had decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day instead of Purim.
By the 1990s, the Syrian Jews of NYC had grown exponentially, with many new synagogues that did not exist in previous decades, and more-than-enough new Syrian Jews to fill those new synagogues with active members. Their rate of intermarriage with non-Jews was LESS THAN ONE PERCENT [<1%].
By year 2015, the Greek Jews of NYC were so few in number that their community had basically ceased to exist. They had no schools, and only that one synagogue which mostly functioned as a museum.
The Syrian Jews of NYC also added new mikvahs to their infrastructure, while the Greek Jews of NYC had no mikvahs.
The Sephardic Bikur Cholim (which is misnamed, because it is really the Syrian-Jewish Bikur Cholim) is very active with many programs and its own building. The Greek Jews of NYC do not have their own Bikur Cholim organization.
Initially, the only significant difference between the Greek Jews of NYC and the Syrian Jews of NYC was that the Greek Jews chose Reform Judaism while the Syrian Jews chose Orthodox Judaism.
PS: This short essay reveals a piece of Jewish History which is known to only very few individuals.
PS: The Persian Jewish community of NYC, which has never known Reform Judaism, also has an extremely low intermarriage rate. While I do not have exact statistics for Persian Jews, their intermarriage rate seems to be so low that it cannot possibly threaten their future.
Is this what has happened to the religious Jewish life?