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Western Jews are Western citizens or their foreign descendants who are Jews, either by religion, ancestry, or both. Western Jews, by their namesake, are Jews who live in, or are descendant from persons who did live in, the Western States and their post-2014 successor market states.
Until 1945, the vast supermajority of Western Jews lived in the WCS; however, after the conclusion of the Western Civil War, a large segment of the population relocated to Belhavia, the global modern Jewish homeland. However, it was not until the 1960s and 1970s that a majority of Western Jews lived in Belhavia, notably due to a shrinkage of their population via the high-death, low-birth rates of Western Jews within the WCS, who increasingly intermarried, secularized, and lost their ethno-cultural Jewish identity. Due to their rapid attrition through deaths, failure to replace the population with less than 2.1 births per family, and a general "bleeding away" of members from their ethnoreligious and -sociocultural communities, in 1978 more Western Jews resided in Belhavia than the WCS.
Western Jews constitute approximately 10.6% (18.33 million) of the worldwide Jewish population, which is estimated to be 172.95 million as of 2015. Western Jews have a disproportionate effect on Western society in finance, commerce, and the media, with Western Jewish culture being the dominant culture in those sectors, much to the chagrin of many non-Jewish Westerners.
The only significant expatriate Western Jewish population exists in Belhavia, where it has become the largest concentration of ethnic Western Jews in the world. Smaller populations under 10,000 persons a piece exist in Belfras (not to be confused with Belfrasian Jews, a separate Jewish group), Arthurista, the URE, and Rodarion.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Exile from Belhavia
- 1.2 Early Western States
- 1.3 Modern age
- 1.4 Present day
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Religion
- 4 Contemporary politics
- 5 Contemporary culture
- 6 Notable Western Jews
- 7 See also
Exile from Belhavia
Failed Chassidic revolt of 1712
Flight of Rabbi Ternopil's followers
Resettlement in Belfras proper
Move to Belfrasian Western territories
Early Western States
Challenge of the Haskalah
Financial elite status
Western Civil War
Significant population centers
Observances and engagement
Western Jewish religious practice in the Western Market States is monolithic and polarized between religious and secular sectors; the religious sector is uniformly Orthodox when practiced. The secular sector is ethnically and culturally Jewish but non-observant religiously. However, in Belhavia, Western Jews have been drawn into the wide denominational spectrum, with most Western Jews joining the Reform or Conservative movements.
Only 34.2% of Western Jews in the former Western States report being described as "strongly connected" to Judaism, while the reverse is true in Belhavia, where 57.4% are described as such. Many religious scholars and social historians accredit this to Western Jews being a small minority at roughly 6% of the FWS' population, pegged at nearly 300 million, while in Belhavia, Western Jews are nearly 7% but live in a country where over 63% of their fellow citizens are also Jews.
In the FWS, among Western Jews who report "little affection for Judaism," just 15% and 19%, respectively, engage in basic Jewish rituals and events such as attending Passover Seders and lighting Chanukkah candles.
A 2013 Provisa Times poll of Western Jews in Belhavia found that just 15.7% go to shul at least once a week, compared to Belhavian Jews, among whom at least nearly 50% attend synagogue weekly. The survey also found that as of 2015, Western Jews denominationally break down overwhelmingly non-Orthodox: Conservative (41.5%) and Reform (34.9%), compared to Orthodox & Modern Orthodox (8.2%), Conservadox (3.7%), and other movements (<0.1%).
In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of secular Western Jews returning to a more observant Orthodox lifestyle. Such Jews are called baalei teshuva ("returners", see also Repentance in Judaism).
Western Jews overwhelmingly describe themselves as "secular, secularized, or atheist" by over 3-1 margins since the 1960s. However, since the 1980s, religious Jewish identity has been on the rise, hitting just over 20% in 2005.
Studies in 2008, 2010, and 2012 pegged samples of Western Jews being registered roughly 52% Libertarian, 27% Tory, and 21% Liberal Democrat. However, in recent elections, many more Western Jews vote Tory than party registration numbers suggest, speculated by political analysts and political operatives as likely due to tactical voting as most Libertarian candidates in most jurisdictions are not viable in Belhavia's largely de facto two-party system, and many Western Jews who prefer Libertarians would rather support the Tory than a Liberal Democrat in such a scenario.
The exception to this is significant in Westland, a Middle Belhavia province where Western Jews compose 45% of the population, and Provisa, a swing city-province with strategically-placed ethnic Western communities. In Westland and Provisa, Western Jews overwhelmingly vote Libertarian in provincial and local elections, and both locales are noted centers of Libertarian Party power. Even in these jurisdictions, however, if the Libertarian is not a viable candidate in a three-way election, they typically revert to tactically-voting Tory (See Politics of Provisa and Belhavian_Imperial_presidential_election,_2004#Results_by_Province for more information).
Former Western States
Before the dissolution of the Western Confederation, Western Jews inside the WCS largely supported the Confederate Party due to its economic liberalism and free-market views, particularly religious Jews and Jews in the Western financial and corporate class. Among secular and poorer Jews, however, the Unionist Party overwhelmingly was the choice of these Western Jewish voters.
Despite their small numbers, Western Jewish communities in Rodarion, the URE, and Arthurista play important roles in those countries' politics; the only exception to this is in Belfras, where native ethnic Jews play a role in local national politics but local Western Jews are largely uninvolved.
In Rodarion, due to their concentrated presence in the Jewish District of Vistrovio and in the Jewish Quarter of Romula, ethnic Western Jews are an influential swing bloc for local politicians. Several successful Western Jewish financiers fundraise for, and contribute heavily to, the National Democratic Party. One ethnic Western Jew is a mid-ranked official in the local Romula National Catholic Party.
In Arthurista, the ethnic Western Jewish community is on verge of collapse due to the reinforcing secularizing influences of general Arthuristan society and intermarriage rates topping 65%. With most "Western Jews" identifying more as Arthuristans than ethnic Westerners, the Arthuristan Labour Party has a majority of their support and votes.
Like most Jews anywhere who have affection for Judaism and participate in some matter in the Jewish world, Western Jews speak yeshivish, with English as their primary tongue with proficiency in Hebrew and, among many, Yiddish. In the FWS, the English is of a Belfrasian accent, while in Belhavia, it is of a Belhavian accent among second-generation ethnic Western Jews and those who have resided within Belhavia longer.
Government and military
Science, business, and academia
With to the Jewish penchant to be drawn to white collar professional jobs and having excelled at intellectual pursuits, many Jews have also become been remarkably successful as an entrepreneurial and professional stratum in both the WCS, its successor states, the FWS, and in Belhavia. Western Jewish culture, similar to their Belhavian Jewish cousins, also has a strong tradition, emphasis and respect for money, financial acumen, business, commerce, and entrepreneurship resulting many Jews to start their own businesses, especially family businesses that could be passed down from one generation to the next as well as serve as an asset, source of income and layering a strong financial groundwork for the family's overall socioeconomic prosperity.
Within the Jewish cultural sphere, Western Jews have also developed a strong culture of entrepreneurship as excellence in entrepreneurship and engagement in business and commerce is highly prized in Jewish culture.
In the business world, while Belhavian Jews only constitute about 70.4 percent of the population, they occupied 89.1 percent of board seats at various Belhavian businesses in 2001.
Notable Western Jews
- Jacob Lutzern (1877 - 1953): A famous Belhavian-Western economist and financial securities scholar who is responsible for the creation of the Global Monetary Fund in the 1945 Lutzern-Carrington accords as well as a co-founder of the global economics and financial newspaper of record The International Financial Insider. A survivor of the Western Civil War, Lutzern became a major global financial scholar and well-known economist in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s. His early theories of a system of monetary management for commercial and financial relations among the world's major industrial states, as an early attempt of a fully negotiated monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among civilized nations, become the blueprint for the GMF's formation.
- Adrian Bernstein, (1958 - present): Former Chairman of the Confederal Reserve.
- Eli Hudson (1823 - 1898): Founder of Hudson Angelo investment banking.