MembersA Spiritual Pandemic Threatens Israel’s Orthodox Faith

More and more Orthodox Jews are breaking out into the wide world.

By Aviel Schneider |
Ultra Orthodox Jews walk in the Ultra orthodox town of Bnei Brak on October 14, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** חרדי בני ברק חרדי קורונה וירוס קניות Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90

“The spiritual pandemic within the Orthodox community is more dangerous than the coronavirus,” concludes Dr. Asaf Malchi from the Israel Institute for Democracy in light of a new study on the growing migration of young people away from Orthodox Judaism. Before the Corona crisis there was a slow but steady movement away from orthodoxy, but now it has become like a spiritual epidemic as large numbers of Orthodox Jews are breaking out of their religious communities to join the wide, wild world.

The rate of Orthodox Jews leaving the fold is now ten times greater than the number of newcomers joining according to another study by Dr. Eitan Regev and Gabriel Gordon. They point out that every year about 14 percent drop out and that number is growing by 0.5 percent annually, which means another 3000 men and women above the average are now leaving the Orthodox community every year.

In 2018, 1.4 percent of students left the state school system, with 4.6 percent of Orthodox Torah students leaving the yeshiva schools in the same year. That’s three times as many as in...

Israel Today Membership

Become a Member

  • Read all member content

    Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.

  • Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel

    Connect with Israel, right from your home.

  • Lift up the voice of truth and hope

    Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.

Already a member? .