This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Out of Town" Jews - A Forum for the Rest of Us

I recently realized that I have to accept the fact that New York is currently, and will remain for the foreseeable future, the hub of the worldwide Jewish community, at least in the eyes of most Americans. Even though Israel has the largest concentration of Jews in the world, and is predicted to surpass the US in Jewish population by next year, your typical American Jew still thinks that NY is the New Jerusalem (a title formerly held by Berlin). There is also a belief among most New Yorkers, Jewish and non-Jewish, that New York is the center of America, and among many Americans that America is the center of the world (hence, to New Yorkers, NY is the center of the world). Therefore, especially to NY Jews, NY is the center of the Jewish world.

It is because of this belief that NY Jews tend to refer to all other Jews as "out of towners". This is true even when they are not in NY. When I was in Israel for the year to study in Yeshiva, a NYer in my Yeshiva brazenly referred to non-Americans in this predominantly Israeli Yeshiva, located in Israel, as "foreigners" and to non-New Yorkers as "out of towners". This is not new and it will not end soon. The "Jblogosphere" is also dominated by NY Jews and American 'Olim. This is slightly different from the rest of the Jewish world, in the sense that Israel gets more or less an equal voice to the New Yorkers', and there are in a sense two equal halves of the "Jblogosphere". But I am sad to say that we, the non-New Yorkers, who are stuck in Shmutz LaAretz, have to struggle for our voice. We sometimes have a different perspective on issues facing Jews and Judaism than the NY Jews or the American 'Olim. Because of this, I recently started "Out of Town" Jews. It should have been started much earlier, but I guess this is a case of "better late than never". Give it a look, see if you like it, and leave some feedback either here or there. If you know my address, you can always email me too (no, I'm not posting it on the internet!).

Below are some stats I found on Jewish population this morning (I'm not sure how accurate they are - the WJC numbers at the bottom seem awfully high to me, but those numbers are from nearly a decade ago, so who knows?):

US population = 6,155,000 Jews, acc. to www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org; 5.2 million acc. to UJC in 2001
NY = 1.4 million Jews (UJC)

WJC 1998:
US 5.8 million
Israel 4.847 million
France .6 mil
Russia .55 mil
Ukraine .4 mil
Canada .36 mil
UK .3 mil

City populations (WJC 1998):
NY 1.75 mil
Miami 535,000
LA 490,000
Paris 350,000

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