Friday, April 27, 2018

Boys' Names

Omer Yaniv

Congratulations! It's a boy! What's his name? If he was born in Jerusalem in 2016, there's a good chance that his name is David, since that was the most popular name for Jewish boys born in that year, during which 287 boys were named David. Unlike in Jerusalem, the most popular name for Jewish boys in all of Israel was Noam, with the name David ranked second place. Among Muslim boys in Israel the name Muhammad was the most popular, and it is also the most popular among all boys in Israel. The name Noam for a boy (it is also a girl's name) was also the most popular name in several Israeli cities, such as Haifa, Beersheba and Rishon Lezion, while in Jerusalem the name Noam was in 16th place on the list of the most popular Jewish boys' names. In Tel Aviv, the names Ori or Uri (which are spelled in exactly the same way in Hebrew) were the most popular.

The ten most popular names for Jewish boys in Jerusalem, apart from David, were Yosef (272 boys), Avraham (246), Moshe (233), Yehuda (212), Yisrael (210), Shmuel (184), Ya'acov (182), Yitzhak (162), and Haim (152). Apart from Noam and David, the most popular names in Israel for Jewish boys were Ori or Uri, Ariel and Yosef. In Tel Aviv the other popular boys' names were Yonatan, Adam, Noam and Eitan. In Haifa, apart from the name Noam, the most popular names were Eitan, Daniel, Adam and David. In the large localities surrounding Jerusalem the most popular name for a boy in both Beit Shemesh and Betar Ilit was Avraham; Shmuel was the most popular name in Modi'in Ilit; Noam in Mevassert Zion; Eitan in Modi'in-Maccabim- Reut; and in Ma'ale Adumim Elia was the most popular name for a boy.

Translated by Gilah Kahn

Friday, April 20, 2018

Naming your daughter

Omer Yaniv

Mazal tov, it’s a girl! What’s your baby’s name?
If she was born in 2016 in Jerusalem, there’s a good chance her name might be Sara, since this was the most popular name given to Jewish girls (232 of them) that year. In contrast, in the country as a whole, the most popular girls’ name in Israel was Tamar (Sara came in at number 8). Among Muslim girls, the most popular name was Maryam. Among Jewish girls in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion and Beer sheba, Maya was the most popular name (Maya came in at No. 31 in Jerusalem).
After Sarah, the most popular names given in 2016 to Jewish girls in Jerusalem were Esther (223) Tamar and Ayala (204 each), Yael (181), Avigail, Rivka and Miriam (171 each) and Haya (157).
In Israel overall, the most common names given to girls were Tamar, Noa, Avigail, Maya and Yael. In Tel Aviv, the most popular names after Maya were Ella, Lia, Emma and Yuval. In Haifa, the most common names after Maya were Avigail, Ayala, Yael and Romi.
In haredi cities such as Beit Shemesh, Beitar Illit, and Modi’in Illit, the most common name was also Sara. In Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut and Ma’aleh Adumim, the most popular name was Talia, and in Givat Ze’ev, the most popular name was Noa.
Stay tuned next week for a list of the most popular boys’ names.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Yeshiva High Schools

Tehila Bigman

In recent years, the demand to study at yeshiva high schools has increased among the haredi public in Israel. At yeshiva high schools, alongside religious studies students learn general subjects and follow the curriculum for the matriculation examination. This new interest reveals deep processes at work in haredi society that indicate a desire for integration into the employment market, which is often the result of the aspiration to earn a decent living, and sometimes a wish to be a more significant part of general Israeli culture.

Studies for boys in the haredi sector begin at age three. That is the age when a boy enters the Talmud Torah or heder and starts to learn how to read. Studies at the Talmud Torah continue until age 14 (the end of eighth grade), and include many hours of religious study –Torah study, Halacha (religious laws), Mishna, Gemara, Musar and World View – as well as general subjects which include math, geography, nature studies, history and more. English and other foreign languages are rarely included, and there is minimal, if any, "enrichment," in subjects such as technology, computers, art, or physical education. In the higher grades there are more religious studies at the expense of the other subjects. After completing the studies at the Talmud Torah, the haredi youth continues to a "small" or "junior" yeshiva for the next three years (parallel to grades nine through 11). Only religious subjects are taught at the small yeshiva.

This means that a graduate of the haredi school system receives a rich education in religious studies, but his level of education in all other areas is roughly equivalent to a student in grade five or six in the state systems. Therefore, entry into the work force, as well as into higher education in the country, is effectively blocked to these haredi graduates.

Research undertaken at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research indicates a trend that shows that more and more members of the haredi community are interested in changing the situation and providing their sons with the tools and the possibility of receiving a broader education starting in high school, to enable them to earn a decent living, or because they believe that the true "Way of the Torah" includes preparedness for a practical life.

In a survey of 450 men and women who are representative of haredi society, 17% of respondents said that they would have no problem sending their sons to a haredi yeshiva high school. Alongside 41% who responded that under no circumstances would they be willing to send their sons to an institution that combines secular studies and preparation for the matriculation exam (which is representative of the prevailing approach in haredi society today), a similar number of respondents said that they wouldn't rule out this possibility. The survey data shows that in the coming years a potential 5,000 additional students may attend haredi yeshiva high schools.

Among respondents in Jerusalem only 12% said that they have no problem with their children studying at a high school yeshiva, and it is interesting to note that in Bnei Brak, a center of haredi Judaism, the percentage was almost double, with 23% of parents responding that they have no problem with their sons studying at a yeshiva high school.

The results foresee a growing phenomenon, which may have far-reaching influence on the employment market and the integration of the haredi population into the larger community in Israel, and we would be advised to pay attention.

Translated by Gilah Kahn

Friday, April 6, 2018

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Erela Ganan

The Central Bureau of Statistics Social Survey for 2016 posed the following question to its respondents: "Are there situations in which you feel lonely?" While working on this weekly column I came across that question, and I wondered – would I have answered that question honestly? And on a government survey? Which of the four options (often, sometimes - from time to time, infrequently, never) would I have chosen? I'm still not sure, but in the meantime, this is what the existing data reveals…

Men in Tel Aviv are lonelier than men in Jerusalem; women in Jerusalem are lonelier than women in Tel Aviv
6.7% of the men in Tel Aviv often feel lonely, as opposed to 3.7% of the men in Jerusalem.
6.66% of the women in Jerusalem often feel lonely, as opposed to 5.94% of the women in Tel Aviv.

When you cluster the answers, the loneliness gaps by gender and by city blur – about 21% of the men in Jerusalem are often or occasionally lonely, similar to about 23% of the men in Tel Aviv. However, we learn that in general women feel lonelier than men do. About 80,000 women in Jerusalem (31%) and about 44,000 women in Tel Aviv (26%) feel lonely often or occasionally. The situation in Haifa isn't much happier: 20,500 of the men in Haifa (21%) feel lonely often or occasionally, as opposed to about 30,000 women in Haifa (27%).

To what is the sense of loneliness connected, among Jerusalemites?

I assumed that there would be a correspondence between the level of loneliness and the quality of family relationships. The Central Bureau of Statistics looks into this as well, and asks: Are you satisfied with your relationship with your relatives? There were insufficient respondents to the options that express dissatisfaction or complete dissatisfaction and so the sampling error doesn't allow for the presentation of the data, which means that I can't reinforce or rule out my assumption. Still, the 21% of the women in Jerusalem who report a frequent feeling of loneliness is comprised of 6.3% who are "very satisfied" with their family relationships, and 14% who are only "satisfied." Among the 31% of women in Jerusalem who feel lonely now and again, 8% are "very satisfied" and connected to their families, while 20% are only "satisfied."

And what of the family status of the respondents?

There is insufficient family status data about those who reported feeling a sense of loneliness "often." At the same time, from among the approximately 17% of Jerusalemites who are lonely "occasionally," about 12% are married, and about 5% are single. And among the approximately 24.4% of women in Jerusalem who are occasionally lonely, about 15% are married and about 5.4% are single.

And maybe, after all that, we can sum up and conclude that a sense of loneliness is part and parcel of feelings of human existence, and it's just as natural to feel loneliness as any other feeling. However, if you still feel overwhelmed, don't keep it to yourself – it's probably a good idea to seek help, or company...

Translated by Gilah Kahn