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Friday, September 17, 2010

Half of secular Israelis to fast on Yom Kippur

A survey shows that 61% of Israelis, including half of all secular Israelis, will fast on Yom Kippur beginning just before sundown on Friday night and ending just after sundown on Saturday night. But don't get your hopes up:
Religious and secular citizens are at odds over one issue only: Whether riding a bicycle is a desecration of the holy day or one of its symbols.
How's that for absurd?
Asked whether they plan to fast on Yom Kippur, 61% of Israelis said yes and 28% said no. Six percent said they would fast only part of the day and 5% had yet to decide.

According to a religious segmentation, 100% of haredim, 100% of religious and 85% of traditional Jews will abstain from eating and drinking for an entire day. Among seculars, about half of respondents will fast (most of them all day) and half won't fast at all.

Among those who fast, 82% will do it for religious and traditional reasons and the rest for other reasons, including respect for their parents, as a sport and to clean their bodies. In all four sectors mentioned, most of those who fast do it to observe the mitzvah.


The second question posed was: "Do you plan on going to synagogue on Yom Kippur?" Fifty-one percent of the respondents answer that they would take part in the holiday's prayers (21% in all of them, 14% in some, and 16% only in Kol Nidrei and Ne'ilah), while 49% said they will not attend Yom Kippur services at all.

The vast majority of haredi and national religious respondents will go to all of the prayer services. Most of the secular public will not go to synagogue, while traditionalists will participate in some of them.

According to the third part of the poll, 77% of the public plans on asking forgiveness from God or other people, versus 23% who will not reconcile with anyone because they do not believe there is any need. In all of the religious affiliations, a majority of the respondents said they plan on asking forgiveness.


In conclusion, the respondents were asked to express their opinion about the tradition of riding bicycles in the streets on Yom Kippur. Some 35% responded that it is a violation of the sanctity of the day just as driving a car is, while 29% responded positively that it is one of the symbols of the day. Seventeen percent did not respond.

According to haredim and national religious, riding bicycles is forbidden to the same extent as riding in a car is. Traditionalists are also opposed to riding bicycles on the fast day, but are divided as to the degree of severity they attribute to the phenomenon. The secular public said that it is one of the symbols of the day.
Sorry guys, but I don't consider riding a bike in the streets (which is done because there are virtually no cars) to be much of a tradition, and that's without even getting into whether it's permitted under Jewish law.


At 1:34 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

When it says that 61% of Israelis will fast... does that account for 20?% of Israeli citizens are not Jewish? So ~75% of Israeli Jews will fast? That's actually a high number if a third are from the FSU, where lots may not have been consistently observant. Israel may be making headway with the immigrants, and more specifically, with their kids. Very nice.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yom Kippur is the only Jewish holiday most Israeli Jews do take seriously... even among those who are not Orthodox at all. Its the nearest thing in Israel you will find to a national holiday and outsiders have a great deal of difficulty understanding why the country shuts down one night every year for 25 hours.

May every one have good come to them when this Yom Kippur is over!


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