Jewish Demographic Crisis (1992)

The natural replacement increase of Jews in the diaspora has recently dropped from the zero line to a negative. If trends do not rapidly change, the increased number of Jews in Israel will no longer suffice to offset diaspora losses. In the year 2000, the world Jewry population is expected to be about 12 million, the same as it was in 1960. Diaspora Jewry is projected to decline from 10.2 million to 7.9 million.

The biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply has undergone many vicissitudes throughout Jewish history. Currently, it appears that the Jewish community has adopted zero population growth with a zeal that can only rebound to its disappearance. In addition, the high rate of intermarriage and assimilation is taking its toll.

Statistics indicate that the Jewish population is aging. 31% of all Jewish households are headed by persons 60 years or over. The median age in North America for white, non-Jews is 28, as opposed to 45 for Jews.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, deeply committed to the survival of the Jewish people, calls upon Sisterhoods to support programs which encourage population growth and Jewish commitment as follows:

  1. Support comprehensive Jewish day care centers.
  2. Synagogues should be child-friendly, e.g. provide optional child care and quality programs during religious services and activities. Attendance by families with young children is more important than strict decorum.
  3. Financial consideration from the total Jewish community to enable families to benefit from Jewish education, including schools and camping, USY and synagogue membership.
  4. Providing opportunities for singles to meet.
  5. Encourage rabbis to address from the pulpit and at pre-marital conferences the need to increase Jewish population.