Torah scroll (illustrative)
Torah scroll (illustrative)Flash 90

57% of Israeli Jews who define themselves as "secular" or "traditional" are interested in Torah learning, and would commit 5 minutes a day to the subject, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by the Motagim Institute for the popular Maimonides Daily site for the national-religious public, examines whether the wider Israeli populace would also be interested in learning the Torah teachings of Maimonides (Rambam), a 12th-century Egyptian Jewish Torah scholar largely considered to be one of the greatest halakhic authorities of all time. The poll surveyed hundreds of respondents across Israel and of differing socioeconomic statuses. 

54% of respondents stated that they only have a "basic grasp" of Judaism, compared with just 9% who self-identified as having advanced knowledge on the subject.

48% of respondents said they would like to deepen the studies of the Jewish family and related laws and traditions; 26% stated a desire to learn more about the Jewish holidays.

The overall trend toward a return to Jewish roots is skewed toward older respondents, however, with a high percentage of those who expressed interest in Judaic studies aged 45 or over.

Religious revival?

The Tel Aviv and central coast region that houses 70% of Israel's population may be widely considered to be the heart of the secular population in the Jewish state, but there have been recent signs of a religious renaissance in the region.

After the Simhat Torah holiday in October, hundreds flocked to a Tel Aviv club to dance around the Torah in the traditional hakafot dances.

In September, Tel Aviv's educators noted a "meteoric" rise in religious education in the city, with many families becoming more observant and sending their children to more religious schools.

Likewise small businesses in Tel Aviv have been pushing to keep supermarkets in the city closed on Shabbat, amid Municipality and Knesset moves to change the status quo.

Last year, the city's White City Shabbat initiative drew over 2,000 people for a record-setting Shabbat dinner.