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Sunday, September 15, 2013 

Britain's Jewish community smaller than it was before

The UK Observer wrote about the state of Britain's Jewish population, which is less than I'd once figured it to be. It once stood at something like 500,000 Jews, but now?
...the significance of – and, according to its founders, the need for – JW3 is that the Jewish community of Britain has changed seismically in recent years.

For one thing, it has grown much smaller. The numbers have shrunk by nearly half since its high-water mark immediately after the second world war, with tens of thousands of Jews marrying out, or just opting out, of the faith, while others emigrated to the new state of Israel.

Despite their major impact in areas such as the professions, science, culture and the arts, the Jews of Britain now comprise a grand total of some 260,000 souls – less than 0.5% of the population. Outwardly, they are more self-confident, especially younger Jews who have grown up in an increasingly multicultural Britain.

But you need only to have visited any synagogue for Saturday's Yom Kippur observance – with young security volunteers checking each arrival and patrolling the exterior – to be aware of an abiding, post-9/11 concern over the possibility of anti-Jewish vandalism, or worse.

Amid the controversy surrounding Israel's stalled peace process with the Palestinians, some Jews, especially university students, have also found campaigns such as the push for an academic boycott increasingly unsettling. Whatever their own views on Israeli policies, for many Jews on British campuses, "anti-Israel" invective has sometimes come to feel not a lot different from antisemitism.
So the population went down by nearly half of what it used to be a decade or so ago. They've given some good ideas why. In a country like France, while not without filthy scum around, they've got more common sense and realization what the real dangers are. In Britain, while the EDL is a great bunch to have around, I sadly suspect there's not enough folks who can get the hang of things, and with the communist-style policies running rampant there - much worse than in France - it's a disaster even for Jews. I do wonder though if the Satmar and Neturei Karta will end up becoming the majority of Jews living there, if they think the UK's policies are to their liking?

So obviously, Britain's Jewish population went down because the country's mindset was not welcoming to them, something that's not so new, recalling what Dickens' Oliver Twist was first like in its depiction of Fagin.

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