There are 15.2 million Jews in the world - Jewish Agency data and 25.3 million if you count those qualify for the law of return and Population of Israel 9.39 million, 6.94 million Jews and Osama bin Laden's son apologizes and What Is Sukkot? Starting tonight-A Guide to The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles, and the Meanings Behind it
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There are 15.2 million Jews in the world - Jewish Agency data and 25.3 million if you count those quaify for the law of return
If we included all those who would be identified as Jewish based on qualifying for Israel's Law of Return, the global Jewish population would equal 25.3 million.
There are approximately 15.2 million Jews living across the world,
according to data revealed Saturday night by the Jewish Agency for Israel ahead of Rosh Hashanah bringing in the Jewish New Year, Walla reported. Around 6,930,000 Jews live in Israel, the data shows, making up around 45% of the global Jewish population and around 79% of Israel's population. The majority of Jews live outside of Israel. Of this Diaspora population, around six million live in the US.
France's Jewish population stands at 446,000, making it the third-largest after the US, based on the Jewish Agency's data, according to Walla. After that comes Canada with 393,500, the UK with 292,000, Argentina with 175,000, Russia with 150,000 and Germany with 118,000. Regarding the Muslim world, the country with the largest Jewish population in Turkey with 14,500. This is followed by Iran with 9,500, Morocco with 2,000, and Tunisia with 1,000.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Prof. Sergio Della Pergola. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)However, this data, compiled by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Prof. Sergio Della Pergola, only includes those who identify as Jewish and not any other religious identity, according to Walla. If it were to include all those who would be identified as Jewish based on qualifying for Israel's Law of Return, the global Jewish population would equal 25.3 million.
Population of Israel 9.39 million, 6.94 million Jews
The population is expected to reach 10 million at the end of 2024, 15 million at the end of 2048, and 20 million at the end of 2065.
Ahead of Rosh Hashanah 5782, the Central Bureau of Statistics has published selected data on the population of Israel.
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the population of Israel is estimated at 9.391 million. The population is expected to reach 10 million at the end of 2024, 15 million at the end of 2048 and 20 million at the end of 2065.
In Israel, there are approximately 6.943 million Jewish residents (74% of the total population), approximately 1.982 million Arab residents (21%) and approximately 466,000 other residents (5%).
The population of Israel increased by about 146,000 people. The population growth rate was 1.6%. About 172,000 babies were born in Israel.
About 48,000 people died in total, of which about 5,800 died from COVID-19 (in the 11.5 months since Rosh Hashanah last year).
About 22,000 people were added to the population in the migration balance, of whom about 20,000 were new immigrants.
Osama bin Laden's son apologizes
Omar bin Laden distances himself from his father's legacy and crimes, and plans to visit Israel with his wife, who has Jewish roots.
Omar bin Laden, the son of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, apologized for his father's actions and said he plans to visit Israel together with his wife.
Omar was expected to be his father's heir and the future leader of the Al Qaeda terror group, but he has rejected the task.
In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, the younger bin Laden spoke about a meeting in which his father asked several of his young children to be martyrs, and described the horror he felt at that.
"My father hated his enemies more than he loved his sons," Omar told the Israeli newspaper. "I felt stupid for the life that I wasted and I knew that I was leaving, and leaving very soon."
After the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, things became clearer for Omar: "It was hard for me to believe that he had the ability to organize such a thing. That day changed our lives forever, and it was very hard to continue to live afterward. During these years of loss and pain, I was forced to come to terms with the truth about my father. Often I wonder if my father murdered so many times until killing already didn't cause him any pain or pleasure."
At the age of 40, after living in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan for many years, Omar is now an artist and lives in Normandy.
"My family name gets me in a lot of trouble in a lot of places, especially in the Arab world," he said. "In the Western world it doesn't, in Europe it doesn't - I'm just a normal person here and they treat me normally.
In the Arab world, there is a lot of hatred towards me. There are those who love me but mostly they hate me or are afraid of me. They're scaredy-cats who are afraid to speak to me, they think I'm like Osama because I'm his son. But it's not like that. I'm not Osama. You don't need to treat a person [a certain way] because his father was good or bad, you need to treat him in an appropriate fashion. But that's how people treat me in the Arab world."
Omar also dreams of visiting the USA: "If only one day I would merit to visit the US, while [US President Joe] Biden is still president. I think that Biden is very open to accepting everyone. I want to make peace and to be good to everyone, and it doesn't matter to me if they are Muslims, Jews, or Christians."
"My wife's mother's family are Jews and originally from Israel," he added. "I would be happy to visit Israel one day. Zina (his wife) received an offer to spend the coming period giving lectures about peace in Israeli universities. I know that it's a beautiful country and many people in it want peace with the Palestinians. I know that since 1948 the Palestinians have been living alongside the Jewish nation. We believe that the world needs to live as one, and that neighbors from every religion can live alongside each other in peace."
What Is Sukkot?
A Guide to The Jewish Holiday of Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles, and the Meanings Behind it
Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur. Sukkot celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the miraculous protection G‑d provided for the children of Israel when they left Egypt. We celebrate Sukkot by dwelling in a foliage-covered booth (known as a sukkah) and by taking the "Four Kinds" (arba minim), four special species of vegetation.
The first two days of the holiday (one day in Israel) are yom tov, when work is forbidden, candles are lit in the evening, and festive meals are preceded by Kiddush and include challah dipped in honey.
The intermediate days are quasi holidays, known as Chol Hamoed. We dwell in the sukkah and take the Four Kinds every day of Sukkot (except for Shabbat, when we do not take the Four Kinds).
Of all the Jewish holidays, Sukkot is the only one whose date does not seem to commemorate a historic event. The Torah refers to it by two names: Chag HaAsif ("the Festival of Ingathering," or "Harvest Festival") and Chag HaSukkot ("Festival of Booths"), each expressing a reason for the holiday.
In Israel, crops grow in the winter and are ready for harvest in the late spring. Some of them remain out in the field to dry for a few months and are only ready for harvest in the early fall. Chag HaAsif is a time to express appreciation for this bounty.
The name Chag HaSukkot commemorates the temporary dwellings G‑d made to shelter our ancestors on their way out of Egypt (some say this refers to the miraculous clouds of glory that shielded us from the desert sun, while others say it refers to the tents in which they dwelled for their 40-year trek through the Sinai desert).
For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the sukkah and otherwise regard it as our home. Located under the open sky, the sukkah is made up of at least three walls and a roof of unprocessed natural vegetation—typically bamboo, pine boughs or palm branches.
The goal is to spend as much time as possible in the sukkah, at the very minimum eating all meals in the sukkah—particularly the festive meals on the first two nights of the holiday, when we must eat at least an olive-sized piece of bread or mezonot (grain-based food) in the sukkah. The Chabad practice is to not eat or drink anything outside the sukkah. Some people even sleep in the sukkah (this is not the Chabad custom).
Jews circling the bimah on Sukkot. Credit: Alex Levin
Every day of Sukkot we say Hallel, a collection of psalms of praise (Psalms 113-118) as part of the morning prayer service. Every day aside for Shabbat, we recite Hallel while holding the Four Kinds, waving them in all directions at certain key points in the service, which are outlined in the siddur (prayerbook).
Afterward, we circle the bimah (the podium on which the Torah is read) holding the Four Kinds, reciting alphabetically arranged prayers for Divine assistance known as Hoshanot.
The seventh day of the holiday is known as Hoshanah Rabbah. This is the day when our fates for the coming year—which were signed on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur—are finalized. On this day, we circle the bimah seven times. We also say a short prayer and strike the ground five times with bundles of five willows (also known as Hoshanot)
In the days of the holy Temple in Jerusalem, there was a special regimen of sacrifices that were to be brought on the altar. On the first day, no less than 13 bulls, two rams, and 14 lambs were to be sacrificed. Every day, the number of bulls was depleted by one. All in all, 70 bulls were brought, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world.
Along with Passover and Shavuot, Sukkot is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three annual pilgrimages, when every male Jew was to be in Jerusalem. Every seven years, on Sukkot, the king would read aloud from the Torah to the entire nation—men, women and children. This special gathering was known as Hakhel.
On Sukkot, G‑d determines how much rain will fall that winter (the primary rainy season in Israel). Thus, while every sacrifice in the Temple included wine libations poured over the altar, on Sukkot, water was also poured over the altar in a special ceremony. This ritual engendered such joy that it was celebrated with music, dancing and singing all night long. This celebration was called "Simchat Beit Hasho'evah."
Even today, when there is no Temple, it is customary to hold nightly celebrations that include singing and dancing (and even live music during the intermediate days of the holiday).
This holiday is so joyous that in Talmudic times, when someone said the word chag ("holiday") without specifying which one, you could know that they were referring to Sukkot.
The Torah tells us that after the seven days of Sukkot, we should celebrate an eighth day. In the diaspora, this eighth day is doubled, making two days of yom tov. On the final day, it is customary to conclude and then immediately begin the annual cycle of Torah reading, making this day Simchat Torah ("Torah Celebration").
Although the eighth day follows Sukkot, it is actually an independent holiday in many respects (we no longer take the Four Kinds or dwell in the sukkah). Diaspora Jews eat in the sukkah, but without saying the accompanying blessing (there are some who eat just some of their meals in the sukkah on the eighth day but not the ninth).
The highlight of this holiday is the boisterous singing and dancing in the synagogue, as the Torah scrolls are paraded in circles around the bimah.
By the time Simchat Torah is over, we have experienced a spiritual roller coaster, from the solemn introspection of the High Holidays to the giddy joy of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Now it is time to convert the roller coaster into a locomotive, making sure that the inspiration of the holiday season propels us to greater growth, learning and devotion in the year ahead.
By Menachem Posner Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor at Chabad.org, the world's largest Jewish informational website. He has been writing, researching, and editing for Chabad.org since 2006, when he received his rabbinic degree from Central Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch. He resides in Chicago, Ill., with his family.