Bintel Blog

Why Fewer Christians Are Being Born in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay

Christians have the lowest birth rate of all religious groups in Israel, official statistics reveal.

Christian women have on average two children, which is far lower than the statistic for Jewish women who have 2.9 and Muslim women who have 3.8. These statistics come from a new report by the Central Bureau of Statistics, an office of the Israeli government.

It reveals just how sharply birth rates have dropped in the Holy Land’s Christian communities in recent decades — in 1960 the corresponding figure was 4.6. This results in a Christian population that is failing to keep up with Israel’s population growth. In 1949, 2.9% of Israelis were Christian, a figure that dropped to 2.3% in 1972 and now to 2.1% (154,500 people).

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Rival Parties for Gay Jews on Christmas Eve

By Laura Sinberg

Jewish Christmas parties, such as the Matzo Ball, are geared toward straight singles. But tonight, there are also warring gay parties in New York City that are competing for the attention of Jewish gay men.

There’s the third annual “Christmas Eve Jewbilee,” thrown by Jayson Littman of He’Bro, a gay, Jewish networking site. The party will cater to the “young, gay professional” set, as Littman puts it. The gathering, at Hudson Terrace in Midtown, is 21 and up, and there is a $7 cover (10% of the proceeds will go to Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, which serves the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community in Manhattan).

Then there’s “Homo for the Holidays,”, put on by Alan Picus, for the 18 and up crowd. There is no cover and the bash will be held at Splash, a gay bar on West 17th Street.

Littman says his party is for culturally Jewish gay men, who aren’t necessarily practicing, but still want to date other Jews. However, he notes that anyone — straight, lesbians, non-Jews — can attend. “There are a lot of yarmulkes at the party,” he said. “There are Orthodox gays who come to the party. Bartenders will be wearing yarmulkes, too.”

And while you may not meet your future husband, you may just meet that special someone: “I don’t know if any marriages have come from it yet, but it’s still a new party, and marriage is still not legal in New York,” Littman said.

Both parties begin at 9 p.m. on Christmas eve.

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Pat Buchanan, Hitler, a Bodyguard and a Jewish Wife

By Dan Friedman

The day after Pat Buchanan wrote, ignoring inconveniences like historical fact and political precedent, that Hitler probably didn’t want to fight Europe and that World War II was probably Winston Churchill’s fault, comes the revelation that Hitler’s bodyguard was married to a Jewish woman.

Steve Rosenberg, writing from Germany for the BBC, talked to Brigitta Jacob-Engelken whose father, now 92, is still alive. Her father has always denied his wife’s ancestry but “Brigitta learnt Hebrew… spent time on a kibbutz in Israel. Back in Germany, she made a career as an architect. Among the projects she worked on were the restoration of local synagogues.” There are good things, she says, about having a father who worked in the final bunker, at least she knows for sure Hitler was killed — “My father is someone who can say ‘I’ve seen him dead!’.”

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