Western Jews

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Western Jews
Total population
~18.33 million
Regions with significant populations
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Belhavia
9.439 million (2015)
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WCS
8.894 million (2015)
(Largely in South Lake, The Capitol State, and Torchland)
Languages
Religion

Judaism

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.

History

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

Secularization

Religious-secular divide

Modern age

Financial elite status

Western Civil War

Present day

Demographics

Significant population centers

Distribution

Population changes

Religion

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).

About 53.8% of Western Jews in Belhavia maintain kosher dietary standards and 37.4% observe Shabbos weekly, while just 28.6% and 13.9%, respectively, in the FWS observe the same.

Religious beliefs

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.

Contemporary politics

Belhavia

Within Belhavia, Western Jews skew heavily as supporters of the Libertarian Party, followed by the Conservatives modestly, and lastly the Liberal Democrats.

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.

Elsewhere

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 the URE, ethnic Western Jews are too dispersed to accurately measure their voting habits, but political donations support staggered support for all three parties.

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.

Contemporary culture

Language

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.

Popular culture

Government and military

Finance

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.

Since many careers in business, industry, and academia generally pay well, Western Jews also tend to have a higher average income than most non-Jewish Westerners and many of their fellow Belhavians.

Notable Western Jews

See also