The New York Times is launching a series of articles on class in America. It seems to be a fascinating report. Also, they have a great interactive graphic that shows the breakdown of various levels of education, income, wealth and profession in terms of where they stand relative to other Americans. Very enlightening. One interesting graph reveals that income mobility is more accessible in Canada than the US.

This ain’t about Judaism, but fascinating nonetheless.

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  • Such an interesting graph. And by “interesting,” I mean depressing as all hell. I may have a “high prestige” career and be in the top of the educational barometer for having achieved a BA level of schooling, but boy, am I poor.

  • One interesting graph reveals that income mobility is more accessible in Canada than the US.
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … so I guess that’s why Canada is just, like, inundated with immigrants and illegal aliens – like all those Mexicans just pass through the US on their way north.


    The Times is running a series on class because the received liberal litany is all about gender-class-race based inequities. As this analysis drifts ever farther from the truth, the True Believers at places like the Times must shore up their faith.

    And so, although America is undoubtedly the world’s greatest engine of personal wealth and financial advancement (to those willing to work hard) and millions clamor to gain entry, the limousine liberals must beat America’s breast with such tortured and obviously untrue “statistics”.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans are pulling back from the excesses of heavy-handed policies like affirmative action that “correct” structural biases that no longer exist – and often result in another pecking order as inequitable as the system they replaced.

    The Times’ reaction is typical of those lefties who, faced with the contradiction between their pet theories and reality, float away from reality to preserve their theories. This explains the past few election results – and looks to explain several more in the near future. Liberals will become increasingly irrelevant – and so will a Democratic party whose policies are based on imaginary inequalities.

    Prepare for a major fisking of this series by conservative journalists and the blogosphere.

  • Middle, surely you can come up with some insightful connection between this and Jews/Judaism/Israel. Otherwise, what are we, an Interesting News and Pretty Graphs Digest?

  • Laya, jeebus, for someone who posts autobiographic descriptions of existential crises rather personal things that have a sort of tenuous connection to Judaism, perhaps we can let TM put some interesting stuff up without thematic criticism?

  • well, muffti, even if you roll your eyes at them, they are the quasi-existential musings of one Jewess, more often than not talking about her relationship to/struggles with Israel and/or Judaism, hence giving them a Jew-content apropos to a blog called Jewlicious. I find our Mr. Middle to generally be a smart fellow, even if i disagree with his views, and coming up with some insightful Kesher to something Jewlicious here, I feel, would have made for a much more interesting and apropos post.

  • Muffti supposes. Though never was there any directive given that told us what the thematic content of Jewlicious had to be. So far as Muffti can tell, the apropos content is, well, whatever we want.

  • Eh, that’s just a name. Muffti thinks we should try to put the LICIOUS back in Jewlicious. And there are certainly a lot of ‘licious things out there.

  • Maybe we should determine the net worth of the Jewish community and enter that into the interactive graph: then discuss the results here–what kind of implications that has for the world’s perception of Jewry, how Jews should be giving more to philanthropic causes and establishing writing fellowships for struggling writers, etc…

    You may think that there’s no way to relate certain things to Jewish life. But I’ve found that where there’s a will, there’s a Jewlicious way.

  • Re: 12
    Many haredim in New York understand that they have a sense of religious obligation to produce as many babies as the poor woman can bear.

    Especially in enclaves where English is a second language (Crown Hts, Boro Park, Williamsburg, etc..) there are hardly any significant means of making a decent living, much less supporting a family of over a dozen. Poverty is accepted as a way of life (didn’t you ever see Fiddler on the Roof?).

    There’s a general feeling that Hashem will provide. Hashem, so far, hasn’t really commented. Especially in Crown Hts, there’s a sense that every extra soul here on the ground is necessary to bring Moshiach (back?). Who cares about food and other mortal concerns when Moshiach’s imminently due?

    End of discussion.

  • There’s definitly a sense of that in Israel as well. actual conversation “what do you do” “me? I do the holiest thing, man, I’m waiting for moshiach” This guy has him pencilled in on his calandar every day thru the next round of hagim. Its sorta like Waiting for Godot. No one comes. No one goes. Its Awful!

  • Well, it really takes the pressure off. No need to get a job or C”S serve in the army, no real pressure to provide well for your family. -And, quite conveniently, everything is divinely pre-ordained! This is obviously the way Hashem wants it!

    Alan Dershowitz, in The Vanishing American Jew, wrote that the future Jewish population is going to be heavily weighted toward haredim, who multiply exponentially, on the average… I can’t find the book- but to paraphrase him, there will be umpteen gazillion Hasidim and Mitnagdim, a handful of right-wing Orthodox, Avi Weiss (I added that myself), 3 major Conservative shuls and a dozen Reform temples that had merged with Episcopal congregations and will serve primarily as front-offices for Habitat for Humanity.

    All kidding aside for a moment (albeit a short one), this is going to have major repercussions for Jewish philanthropy. If more and more non-orthodox Jews are headed toward new lives as first-generation Reform, and the first-generation Reformers are seeing their children becoming largely non-practicing (and everyone knows that these are the ones with the big bucks…), who are going to be the big givers to Israel, Jewish education, synagogues…? And in the meantime, with the Haredi communities growing, who’s going to be underwriting the yeshivot, kollels, housing, etc.?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to save American Jewry, therefore, is for the more moderate among us to have more kids. Dozens and dozens. Send ’em to dayschools, keep ’em kosher, and set them free on unsuspecting Borough Park (which, incidentally, used to be quite the liberal Jewish hotspot).

    What are you still here for? Get going!

  • Conserva-Girl, are you advocating that those of us who are below the poverty line and unmarried go ahead and get knocked up? Because I might be able to get that done (heck, the trying would be fun, no?), but I’ll need you to write my parents a note excusing me from marriage. Thanks.

  • Instead of whining, somebody might wish to investigate average Jewish incomes, wealth and levels of education and compare them to the average. Of course, such numbers might be skewed because the NY Times survey doesn’t break down geographically and there’s no question that $100,000/year goes farther in Des Moines than Los Angeles.

    The poverty in NY comment and the response about the Orthodox there who end up living in poverty are both right on target. I believe it goes beyond the Orthodox community, however, and have to think that as the Jewish population ages, they are also affected economically and this is why we see more people entering the ranks of the poor.

    With respect to having lots of babies, I wish you all the best. Consider, however, that every child is going to cost you $10-12k a year to send to Jewish day school and before any other expenses. Good luck.

    Esther, go for it, you would make a wonderful mother and who needs men anyway?

  • Which is, like I’ve said before, one of the perks of living in Israel; Jewish school is free!

  • Esther,

    I am so committed to this cause that I will do whatever it takes. In fact, all of you here at Jewlicious (and even some of your readers– but definitely not all of them) should focus full-time on turning around these projected demographics, relationship or not.

    Just tell me where to send the notes.

  • If my understanding of how this works is accurate, if you ask enough rabbis, you’ll be able to find the heter you want.

    CG and TM, sounds good to me. I think I’d be the coolest mom ever–Laya’s comment about Jewish school being free in Israel is definite food for thought. What, you ask? What happened to my conviction that I could never sever ties with my family enough to leave them behind and move to Israel? Well, having a baby out of wedlock would certainly cure me of those close family ties…

  • Believe me, TM, I’m beginning to realize this. I’m looking into getting my hormones removed so that I can concentrate on my career again. If I took all the cumulative energy I’ve spent on dating-related matters and funnelled it into my creative life, I’d probably be able to win an Oscar, or a Pulitzer, or cure cancer. Maybe we could convert it to solar power or something.

  • Well, that’s one option. Another is compromising and educating a (cave)man to be a human being. Another is IVF with donor sperm…

    But I hear ya about the dating. I’ve actually got a story to tell about jdate…

  • Ben David, I’m a bit late to this one, but I hope you’ll indulge me nonetheless.

    I hope that whoever carries out this “fisking” (gosh, that one gets funnier all the time) spends a few more moments checking his facts then you do. As of 2001, 18.4 percent of Canada’s population is foreign born — are you really so ignorant as to think Canada doesn’t have a lot of immigrants? (In 2002, the comparable US figure was 11.5 percent.) So by your own metric, Canada is clearly more attractive to immigrants than the US.

    Obviously that’s not even close to the whole story, but it does fit your notion of those “faced with the contradiction between their pet theories and reality, float away from reality to preserve their theories” quite well.

  • conserva-girl,
    a delegation of elite secular Jerusalemites came to ultra-orthodox Mayor Lupilianski with the usual complaints about haredization and decreasing secular population.

    The mayor was ecstatic and thanked them for coming and willingness to cooperate. He told them that the best way they could help him was…

    …to have more babies. Yalla, [married] yidden, into the bedroom!

    In the talmud, it says you should do it twice in the same night in order to make boys. Tractate Shabbat, 118b 14th line from bottom – Rabbi Yossei.

  • I have three sisters and each one is a blessing, silly Esther. Were there a way to guarantee the birth of daughters as wonderful as my sisters, I dare say ck would be married by now with a roost of baby girls at his feet.

  • CK, it’s possible–just possible–that I was joking.

    I don’t like to play “why isn’t he or she married,” for obvious reasons. It never ends well. (And has everyone seen my glass house???) But I’m hazarding a guess that science’s failure to guarantee a passel of giggling girl babies is not what is making the men of the world marriage-resistant.

  • Rabbi Yossei was a horny one. Everyone knows you just need to wait until she’s ovulating. The rest of it is just, you know…fun pretend babymaking. 😉

  • TM, you are so silly.

    Everyone knows that all Jews are rich, and since we are all Jews, we are therefore all rich.

    And everyone knows that people who are rich don’t give a hylax’s tuchus about people who aren’t, and the only reason we ever discuss an issue as crass as class (the words rhyme for a reason, see?) is when we’re discussing our poor West Indian household help.

    OK, requisite sarcasm aside (notice I didn’t write anything disparaging about Latinos- I think the HHH’s are actually kinda cute), American Jews have had a proud tradition of addressing social and civil rights. It’s a shame that our heritage has fallen by the wayside as we, as a cultural group, have become more wealthy and powerful. I work for an agency that provides social services and I can see that there are still idealistic Jews working as social workers and care managers, but the numbers are dwindling.

    I’ve been following the NY Times series, and in general, I am appalled at the disparity that is portrayed. In particular, the article about heart attack care as a function of income and class was especially interesting, because every day I see how badly our lower income elderly manage their medical care- even when it is readily available to them.

    Jews have traditionally been good at taking care of their own, but I’ve seen that begin to fall apart in recent years as close Jewish communities have become 1) more spread out 2) less interested in giving tsedaka in their own communities and 3) less interested in even identifying with a Jewish community.


  • You are all confusing class with income level.

    Only in America are these 2 terms confused – because America is wide open to social advancement.

    This is what renders such liberal breast-beating about class so frustrating – take a look at Europe if you want to see societies that REALLY are still stratified by class.

    America is still the place where people can advance the furthest by hard work. It is still the most socially mobile and flexible society on the planet. If you want to debate whether the richest society should have socialized medicine because we Jews feel bad for the poor – that is another issue.

    This entire series by the Times is a liberal bubble-fantasy. Poor people are knocking down America’s doors in a way that they aren’t pushing to enter, say, Europe’s truly class-stratified societies.

    (As a result, Europe has had to settle for Arab labor – because Europe’s still-hierarchical, ethnically divided society is not as attractive as the US to those with a modicum of education, who want to get ahead. Not many Indian engineers immigrating to Europe, eh?)

    Read this for an explanation of why class is largely irrelevant in America:

  • Ben David, the NY Times article did not confuse class with income. Income was one of 4 categories they combined to assess one’s perceived status in the United States.

    Another reason why I believe you may not have read the article nor looked at the fascinating graphic presentation that accompanied it is that they show that income mobility in the United States is actually somewhat more difficult to achieve than in Canada or certain Western European countries, and this difficulty is not only one that can be ascribed to short term difficulties, but where the US falters behind Europe and Canada over a period of generations as well.

    With respect to the populations who come into the US vs. Europe as immigrants, instead of concocting this weird scenario that has no basis in fact, why not simply crack open an atlas. You will quickly learn that North Africa, full of impoverished young Arabs and Muslims, is very close to Spain and thereby enables access to these immigrants. The US, on the other hand, attracts…Mexicans. Why? Because they sit next to our border.

    Now, while it is true that traditionally the US has been able to entice high quality immigrants such as those seeking higher degrees to come here to seek their fortune, the Bush Administration has managed to significantly damage this advantage. We are now watching many of these individuals seek European colleges, or they’re staying home in India and China, which are both building strong infrastructures to support strong and lucrative careers for these highly educated people.

    Also, just so you know, the use of the word “liberal” in this Republican-speak that has become prevalent because some Republican campaign manager once wrote a memo that talking points should include attacks on “liberals,” is simply idiotic.

  • Ben David, you know your buddies at the Wall Street Journal started their own series about class in America in last Friday’s issue, with very similar conclusions as the NYT’s article on Sunday. But I suppose the WSJ is in the “liberal bubble” as well. (Sorry, no link since the Journal’s capitalists don’t give much content up for free.)

    So, take your pick of messenger — NYT or WSJ — but the facts are the same. Social mobility is greater than the US in Canada and much of Europe. It’s the myth of social mobility that’s so much stronger in America (which is not necessarily a bad thing as it obviously encourages people to strive if they have some hope, not to mention that the US economy has grown faster than most of the developed world the past couple decades, raising all boats if not very equally.)

    And, actually, there are plenty of Indian engineers migrating to Europe — I knew quite a few when I worked there. As for the Arabs, yes Europe definitely has a problem with integrating them, but don’t you think that Europe gets a lot of Arab immigration for the same reason the US gets a lot of Mexican immigration — proximity.

  • I wonder how much trouble the generation before yours is making. Your parents. I wonder how much they are putting obstacles in the way of your marrying. Oy. Tell it, C-girl. Big taboo topic. We all love our parents and don’t want to hurt or betray them, or their notions. But the show must go on! Please, no babies out of wedlock. What is so terrible about wedlock? The remarks of the old folks? The failure to clone Mama? The five-ton wedding with every businessman Papa ever owed anything? The tired flavor of the old folks’ way of life? But the show must go on! Don’t worry about the old folks! It’s just another phase of childbirth, which hurts but then you get over it. Not letting your children grow up is a very terrible, sinful thing to do. Don’t allow this. Take charge. When they see Jewish grandchildren, they will calm down. Every generation has to go its own Jewish way!

  • CK, your daughters will be every BIT as wonderful as your sisters. How could that be otherwise? Because you could never find as great a Mom for them as your own Mom?? Baloney!! Roost away. Aren’t you curious who might show up at your door, wide-eyed, clutching a pink blanket? If they ever mystified you, you could always ask Esther. She knows ALL.

  • Today the NYTimes continued the series and described the difficulties of a couple where the Jewish wife came from money and the working class Roman Catholic husband didn’t. Apparently the issue of money and its source, as well as the woman’s “superior” position since she can provide for their lifestyle, are greater problems by far than their different religions.