Survey: Israelis Grow More Religiously Observant

A special official survey finds that Israelis are becoming more religiously observant, many secular Jews will fast this Yom Kippur.

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Maayana Miskin, | updated: 19:49

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A special Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) survey has found that more Israeli Jews are becoming increasingly religiously observant than the reverse. 21% of those surveyed said they are currently more religious than they were in the past, while 14% say they are less religious.

Five percent of respondents defined themselves as “chozrim b'teshuva,” a term often used to refer to those raised in non-religious households who choose to become religious as adults. Hareidi-religious respondents were most likely to define themselves as chozrim b'teshuva – a full 22% of them said they were chozrim b'teshuva, compared to 17% of the religious-Zionist community and 9% of the traditional-religious community.

The survey found that even those Jews who defined themselves as secular often observe religious customs. 82% of those calling themselves secular said they participate in a Passover seder every year, 67% said they light Chanukah candles every year, 29% light Sabbath candles every week, and 26% fast each year on Yom Kippur.

In addition, 17% recite kiddush on Friday night, 22% eat only food that is kosher for Passover on Passover, and 10% eat only kosher food for the entire year. 24% prayed in a synagogue on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur last year.

Seventy two percent of Israeli Jews over the age of 20 were in synagogue at least once over the course of the past year, the survey found. Men were more likely than women to attend synagogue: 76% of male respondents had been in synagogue at least once in the past 12 months, compared to 68% of women.