46% of “Secular” Israelis Fast on Yom Kippur

46% of “Secular” Israelis Fast on Yom Kippur

I never kept the Yom Kippur fast before I became religious…It felt way too hard to keep, and I didn’t really even try (the one year I did actually try, during my sophomore year of college, I ended up breaking Yom Kippur by eating a big mac on Yom Kippur morning!) So I find it awe-inspiring to hear about the self-defined “secular” Jews who restrain themselves and manage to keep Yom Kippur.

Here’s some surprising (and heartening) Israeli Yom Kippur statistics according to the Binah Organization…

73% of all Israelis fast on Yom Kippur.

27% don't fast vs. 73% do fast

27% don’t fast vs. 73% do fast

Among the 73% of Jewish Israelis who fast, here’s the reasons why:

Why do Israelis fast on Yom Kippur? 51.5% : Religious reasons 22.5%: To honor the tradition 14% To identify with the Jewish people 3%: For health or as a personal challenge [The additional 9% responded "All of the Above" or "None of the Above"

Why do Israelis fast on Yom Kippur?
51.5% : Religious reasons
22.5%: To honor the tradition
14% To identify with the Jewish people
3%: For health or as a personal challenge
[The additional 9% responded “All of the Above” or “None of the Above”

Now here’s what I thought was the most surprising part of this survey:

46.5% of self-described “Secular” Jewish Israelis fast on Yom Kippur. Why?

41% fast out of “respect for Jewish tradition,” 24.5% out of “identification with the fellow Jews who fast” and 19% said “in order to keep the mitzvot.”

And if I would ask you to guess which Jews are more likely to fast– young people or old people, then you would probably think the older Jews, right? Nope, WRONG!

Listen to this:

Between the ages 35-54: 54% fast

Above the age of 55: 67.5% fast

Between the ages of 18-34: EIGHTY FOUR PERCENT fast!

Which reminds me of a person I saw on the bus today…A kippah-less high-school student, wearing jeans, a fluorescent orange Jack Daniels T-shirt, carrying a black velvet tefillin bag under his arm.

More proof that Jews are often not nearly as far away as they seem to be at first glance.

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2 comments

  1. Good news indeed, we should only hear more of it! 😀

  2. it may also prove that we shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”, someone might not look religious or even Jewish, but they are. Everyone is on a journey as you have proven yourself with your life story. We’re entering Succot now, time to welcome Klal Yisroel into the succah 🙂 no matter what they look like 😀

    Chag Sameach!

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