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For prior discussions of the infobox in the top right corner of the article, please visit Talk:Jews/infobox.

Jews speak English, Modern Hebrew, Russian, French, Arabic and Spanish.[edit]

Let's discuss.--Wikipedianjewish (talk) 06:43, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Well, you removed Arabic and placed Hebrew before English. Personally, I don't mind the order, since on the one hand English is spoken by more Jews than Hebrew, but Hebrew has a clearer connection to being Jewish. Arabic is still a language spoken by many Jews from Arab countries, and should stay. Debresser (talk) 07:15, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I didn't, Averysoda and Jeppiz removed Arabic and placed Hebrew before English. I added Arabic and placed English before Hebrew.--Wikipedianjewish (talk) 07:41, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
My apologies. So, as I said, I think that Arabic should be here, and have mixed feelings about whether English or Hebrew should be first. Let's see what others have to say. Debresser (talk) 10:08, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
If we are going based on order, then yes, English should be listed before Hebrew. However, it may be difficult to accurately determine the number of Jews who speak each language. I don't think, however, that the order really matters that much. Now Arabic; not many Jews speak Arabic these days as a primary language, and I think it should belong in the "other" or "Judeo-Arabic" category. Goalie1998 (talk) 10:16, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Old Israeli Mizrahis and Sephardis speak Arabic as their native language. And Jews in Arab world still speak Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial Arabic as their native languages.--Wikipedianjewish (talk) 12:51, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
First of all, Wikipedianjewish needs to stop the heavy edit warring, or risk being blocked. The user has not yet provided any rational for their edit warring, just restating the action. As for the content, I find it fairly obvious that Hebrew should be first, it is the official language of the Jewish state and it is the traditional language of the Jews. I see no reason see insert Modern Hebrew instead of Hebrew. I write this in English, no need to specify "Modern" English even though it is not the language of Chaucer, and I go for lunch soon in French, not "Modern" French even though I speak something very different from La Chanson de Roland. As for Arabic, I have no strong feelings about including or excluding it, but as it is a change from the consensus version, the onus is on Wikipedianjewish to make a case for it.Jeppiz (talk) 10:35, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Jeppiz There is something to say for the addition of the word "modern" in the case of Hebrew, because Hebrew is a rebirthed language, unlike any other language I know in the world, and there is the possible question "wait a second, biblical Hebrew or modern Hebrew", unless specified. Especially since there are people who speak even nowadays in the archaic tongue. Debresser (talk) 12:40, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I'm well aware of the history of Hebrew. I don't really think it matters, actually. Quite the contrary, Modern Hebrew is much closer to Biblical Hebrew than modern English is to early English or Modern French to early French. Saying that the French speak French or the English speak English is no more or less likely to lead to confusion than saying that (mainly Israeli) Jews speak Hebrew.Jeppiz (talk) 12:43, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Modern Hebrew is an artificial language unlike English and French. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 13:50, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

I support "English, Hebrew, Russian, French, Spanish, and Arabic" or "English, Modern Hebrew, Russian, French, Spanish, and Arabic" Wikipedianjewish (talk) 14:06, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Why Arabic ? Almost no Jews speak Arabic as a first language today. Much more speak Russian or German or Yiddish or even Italian. Benjil (talk) 14:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Old Israeli Jews from Arab and Jews in Arab world still speak Arabic as their native language. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 15:11, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Which is almost nobody today. As I said more Jews alive today speak Yiddish and of course Russian or German than Arabic. Benjil (talk) 15:19, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Yiddish? I am sure Jews who speak Yiddish as their native language are less than Jews who speak Arabic as their native language. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 15:54, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Well here's the thing, unless you can find a source to elicit a change, it should stay how it is. Goalie1998 (talk) 18:42, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
So, you want to remove Arabic on the list? Wikipedianjewish (talk) 03:35, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
There is no doubt that Arabic is a first or second language to many Jews, both in the Arabic countries which still have a Jewish population, as well as in Israel. Just like Yiddish. Goalie1998, if you are going to ask for a source for that, you are going to have to provide a source for each of the languages. Arabic stays. Debresser (talk) 08:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

In Fact there is a doubt. My family is from an Arabic country and absolutely nobody including my grand parents but one (who has been dead for many years) speak or spoke Arabic. Most Jews left the Arab speaking countries in the 50s and 60s. In Northern Africa, many were not even speaking Arabic but only French (like even today in Morocco, the main Jewish community in an Arab country), and anyway most are dead. The numbers of Jews left in Arab countries is close to 0 (a few thousands at best in Morocco and as I said many do not speak Arabic, a few hundreds in Tunisia, and that's all). Meanwhile the number of Yiddish speakers among the most extreme ultra-orthodox Jews is in the tens of thousands. There are 100 to 200,000 Jews in Germany. And hundred of thousands of Russian speaking Jews in Israel or elsewhere. So including Arabic makes no sense at all. Benjil (talk) 10:39, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Suggestion: Look at the text preceding footnote 20 in Jewish languages—a reliably sourced list of the most common languages spoken by Jews—and delete all the others. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 10:49, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

I support this proposal: English, Hebrew, Russian and that's all. Benjil (talk) 11:11, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Disagree: Arabaic is needed, both here as well as in the other article. Benjil, you are just one person, and your personal experience isn't what needs to decide editing on Wikipedia. There are lots of Jews who speak Arabic (and I don't mean they learned it in school). For a personal case of an Arabic-speaking Jew, read this blog. Debresser (talk) 12:25, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
See for example this source, which is unfortunately not very reliable. An interesting article which I couldn't get a hold of can be found here. Also see this text from Arab Jews:

They spoke Arabic, using one of the many Arabic dialects (see also Judeo-Arabic languages) as their primary community language, with Hebrew reserved as a liturgical language.

A good source could be this one, but I really think there is no reason to source the obvious, and if anybody here will insists, I will insist on sourcing all languages! Debresser (talk) 12:34, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
What is needed to decide on Wikipedia is a relevant and credible source. Please provide us with the number of Jews who in 2015 speak Arabic and did not learn it at school. In the meantime, according to simple common sense and basic knowledge of the reality of the Jewish world today, we can assume this number is very low and consists mostly of old people. Everybody agrees that *in the past* many Jews spoke Arabic. Not today. Benjil (talk) 12:40, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
No, not only in the past! The number of Arab speakers is still high, and not only among the elderly. Many of their children also speak Arabic. Not to mention the Israelis who learn Arabic in schools. And all the Jews in all the Arabic countries. By the way, your request for a number has no basis in Wikipedia guidelines. Debresser (talk) 13:00, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Your claim is unfounded. There are almost no Jews in Arabic countries today, just a few thousands in Morocco and they speak French. The children of Jews who left the Arab world live overwhelmingly in Israel and they do not speak Arabic (not from home at least) or in France (even less). Now you had people learning Arabic at school which is another subject entirely. The burden of the proof is on you. Benjil (talk) 13:28, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
If you read the source, it says that most Jews in Arab Lands did not actually speak Arabic - either speaking the language of their original country, or the local European colonial administration. And looking at the source[1], Arabic is only listed under "Other Languages." I don't believe there is a significant number of native Arabic speaking Jews for it to be in the infobox. Additionally, the article itself only lists Arabic as being spoken by "most North Africans" - not a significant number of Jews relative to the other languages listed. Goalie1998 (talk) 15:44, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment The discussion above about Arabic is way too much about personal opinions. I agree with Benjil, please provide the number of Jewish native speakers of Arabic in 2015 (or the latest years at the very least), from a WP:RS. Anything else is irrelevant.Jeppiz (talk) 20:21, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
That is part of my original objection to the change. I havve not been abole to find a source that lists Jews that speak Arabic. The only sources I have found about the languages of Jews tend to not mention Arabic at all, or lump it in under Judeo-Arabic languages, which is why I oppose adding Arabic. Goalie1998 (talk) 22:17, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
First of all, I have a reliable source that mentions Arabic. Numbers are not in the list, so are not an issue. In any case, since you all insist on numbers, please be so kind to provide numbers for the other languages as well. Debresser (talk) 16:15, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I read your source, which states

"Jews. In Arab countries... often speak Arabic natively, though the Jewish communities often included (a) emigres from non-Arabic-speaking countries who never acquired Arabic as their primary language..., or (b) indigenous members who became monolingual in the language of a European colonial administration... Moreover,... Jews who speak Arabic natively typically speak distinctive 'ethnolects' of Arabic..."

—Paul Wexler, Arabic as a Minorty Language, pg. 65[2]
These "ethnolects" are covered in the infobox as Judeo-Spanish. Additionally, this source is describing the Jews historically, not the modern Jews. So again, you have not found a source that shows that there is a significant number of native Arabic speaking Jews today. Goalie1998 (talk) 17:01, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

What do you think about 'English, Hebrew, Russian, French, and Spanish'? English is spoken in Jewish communities more than Hebrew. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 02:38, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

More Jews speak English than Hebrew today, although I am not sure that it is by a wide margin and how much time it will be the case considering the Jewish population of Israel is growing much faster than the English-speaking Diaspora. Furthermore, the status of Hebrew as the first and main historical Jewish language can not be disputed. But it is really not very important which one is the first in the list. Benjil (talk) 06:27, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
Is there any need to change what is written? Goalie1998 (talk) 07:04, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
I think the language who most Jews speak has to be the first in the list. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 06:43, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't matter much to me Goalie1998 (talk) 09:42, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree with that. With the only possible exception of Hebrew, which perhaps should be first in the list, as having an intrinsic additional value as a "Jewish" language".
I think we need sources, specifically for French, Spanish and Russian. I strongly oppose any language but Hebrew and English without a source. Debresser (talk) 10:55, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Again, we have a source[1]. Goalie1998 (talk) 11:39, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
So it should be in the article. By the way, there it mentions Portuguese also. By the way #2, I have two good source for Judeo-Arabic, as a historical language. Debresser (talk) 23:42, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I see the source was already added to the article. So I propose to add Portuguese as well, as per that same source. Debresser (talk) 06:20, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Is your goal to demonstrate the absurdities of Wikipedia rules when pushed to the extreme ? Well done. You need sources to add French or Spanish, seriously ? And no we do not "need" to add Portuguese, less than 1% of world Jews speak Portuguese. And we should check how much speak Yiddish today, it is the main language of the hard-line ultra-Orthodox sects who also happen to have the highest natural growth rate in the world. The Yiddish Language article is not very clear on the subject.Benjil (talk) 06:50, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, I am just trying to be consequent. If we take 5 languages from one source, then we should take the sixth as well. That is only reasonable. We would need a very good reason not to do so, I think. Unless that same source would show a significantly lower percentage for that sixth language, as you seem to claim, but I didn't see that. Where do you get percentages from?
I agree that perhaps Yiddish is not only a historical language. Debresser (talk) 09:07, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
From the Jewish Population by country. 5 languages is Ok. Maybe even just 2 because 90% of Jews in the world speak either Hebrew or English as a main language, we do not really need any more than that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjil (talkcontribs) 09:24, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Can we move on from this? There seems to be just one editor requesting a change, and the rest of the consensus says to leave it as is. Goalie1998 (talk) 09:53, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
No, Goalie1998, we can not, and we will not. Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, and one of them is that information needs to be sourced. Another is that information needs to be balanced. You should thank me for pointing to the deficiencies of this article in these regards, and not try to avoid the subject. You are, however, welcome to take your own advice and leave the discussion, if you feel you have exhausted your interest in it.
@Benjil Five is more than enough generally, but not when we cherrypick 5 out of 6. I would be perfectly happy to accept your proposal to list only Hebrew and English though, as being by far the most widespread of the present 5 / 6 in total. Debresser (talk) 13:05, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
@Debresser: I am referring to Wikipedia's policy on Consensus. I am not abandoning the discussion, I am simply suggesting that a consensus may have been reached. Blindly using all information from a source for the sake of using the entire source is unreasonable. Thought and consideration must be given to the information, and it must be accurately interpreted. Because no estimate is given for the number of Jewish speakers of Portuguese in one source - just that it is a language spoken - we must find other information to clarify. Simply using all information provided from one source without understanding context is irresponsible. If we look at the source used, it states: "Portuguese is used mainly by Jews living in Brazil, a small number that live in Portugal, and emigrants found especially in Israel and the USA."[1] If you extrapolate the information on that site, with the current number of Jews in Brazil and Portugal, (95,000, and 600, respectively)[3], you can see that Portuguese is only spoken by roughly 100,000 Jews. However, "[t]he third largest group comprises the speakers of Russian with probably about two million Jews who speak it as their mother-tongue.... More than half a million of Jews speak French as their mother tongue... There are probably slightly less than half a million Jewish speakers of Spanish as a mother tongue..."[1] I think there is a significant difference between 500,000 and 100,000 native speakers to have French and Spanish listed, and certainly a significant enough difference to keep Russian listed. The languages listed weren't cherry picked, but chosen based on number of worldwide speakers. I am opposed to adding Portuguese (and Arabic, but you seem to have abandoned that movement). Goalie1998 (talk) 15:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, after reading a few sources, I have come to agree with the opinion that Arabic is more a historic language, more so even than Yiddish. Debresser (talk) 21:39, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I think it's unnecessary to include more than 3-4 languages. All the rest are included in "the vernacular languages of other countries in the diaspora". Infantom (talk) 14:47, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
So Hebrew, English, Russian (because most speakers do not live in the former USSR), and French (France, Belgium, Quebec, but also many Israelis from North Africa and the growing French Jewish-Israeli community as well as French Jews in the USA, Canada, UK... - there are 200,000 French Jews outside of France in addition to the 500,000 in France). Benjil (talk) 16:34, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I have no objections to that proposal. Goalie1998 (talk) 16:45, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I also agree with Benjil's proposal. Hebrew, English, Russian and French is perfectly reasonable.Jeppiz (talk) 20:30, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Based on the numbers provided by Goalie1998, I too agree with those 4 or 5 languages. However, those numbers should be sourced. Otherwise, there is no evident reason for picking 5 out of 6 languages. The reason has to be evident as well as factually true. Alternatively, I personally would prefer having only Hebrew and English. Debresser (talk) 21:39, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
It is hard to find sources that will directly state specifically the number of Jews speaking each language. Based on the other sources available, however, we are able to extrapolate (with some degree of error) the number of native speakers of a language through each country's Jewish population and the native language spoken there. Those numbers are all sourced. The only reason 5 out of 6 were picked from the source was based on the numbers stated - it wasn't random, or specifically meant to leave the sixth out for any reason other than a relatively insignificant number of Jews speak that language. I have no problem removing Spanish from the list as well ("...probably slightly less than half a million Jewish speakers of Spanish as a mother tongue..."[1]). However, if we remove Spanish, isn't that still picking which information we use from a source? Instead of picking five out of six, we have picked four out of six. I don't see the difference. If we leave only Hebrew and English, we have then picked two out of six. We have to decide where to draw the line; how many native speakers of a language are needed before it is included in the infobox? Goalie1998 (talk) 23:29, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you that there is no real difference between picking 4, 5 or 6. However, Hebrew and English are much more widespread and are also spoken by many Jews over the world as a second language. Meaning that an Argentinian Jew, who can be listed as speaking Spanish, will likely know a bit of Hebrew as well, and most likely more than a bit of English. In that respect, Hebrew and English are almost lingua franca, and that is why I think the best choice is to mention only these two, and then just say "other local languages". Debresser (talk) 07:43, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I am inclined to leave at least Russian - it is spoken by 10% of the Jewish population. Maybe French as well; it does has significant (albeit less than Russian) representation, but it doesn't appear that Spanish does. Goalie1998 (talk) 10:02, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't agree with it. Most Jews speak English nowadays. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 04:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Suggestion It seems clear a consensus (not unanimity, but a clear consensus) has been reached for Hebrew, English, Russian and French. The discussion doesn't seem to be advancing much, with the same arguments coming around several times, so I'd suggest we move on to avoid WP:SOAP.Jeppiz (talk) 17:30, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
@Jeppiz I see several editors who are actively discussing the desirableness of having fewer languages (Goalie1998: 2-4, Debresser: 2, Benjil: at one time 3, now 4). So I suggest you wait patiently and just let people talk it over. Debresser (talk) 06:18, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I support the 4 languages proposal. Does anyone oppose it ? If not let's move on. Benjil (talk) 06:50, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Either 4 or left how it is, doesn't matter to me. Goalie1998 (talk) 08:41, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
It is necessary to put most common language in Jewish communities as the first in the list. Wikipedianjewish (talk) 05:03, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we have noted your WP:POV and we have concluded it failed to gain any consensus. Maybe it isn't deliberate, but you repeatedly express yourself as if we were obliged to do as you wish, so I recommend you read WP:OWN.Jeppiz (talk) 15:21, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Wikipedianjewish on this point, as noted above. I think his tone is because English may not be his first language. No need to bite anybody. Debresser (talk) 16:32, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I have no intention to "bite" anyone and English isn't my first language either. I've seen no good argument this far for why we should not give Hebrew as the main Jewish language.Jeppiz (talk) 19:16, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
If we must go this way - while it is true there are more English speakers for the moment (USA, UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa = around 7 millions), the Jewish Hebrew speaking population of over 6 millions is growing much faster so it's just a matter of a few years. Benjil (talk) 19:31, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Jeppiz Agree, first Hebrew and then the order languages by order of prevalence. Personally, I think just Hebrew and English should suffice, because other languages are much less widespread than English. Debresser (talk) 06:07, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
  • If you talk about the 1st language of people who live in any country and who are Jewish, Chinese should be added : [1]. And let's not forget also the Falashas. And German (DE, CH), Flemish (BE), Polish, ...
  • If you talk about places where there are well-established Jewish communities, with their own particularities, then English (US, ...), Modern Hebrew, Russian and French should be enough. Pluto2012 (talk) 20:12, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
We are talking about the number Jews who speak specific languages as their mother tongues, not just countries that happen to have Jewish residents. Goalie1998 (talk) 21:59, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
The German citizens who are Jews speak German as their mother tongue. This is the same for the Chinese ones or Polish ones or the Falashas... Pluto2012 (talk) 16:06, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Right. According to your source, " there is a new Jewish community of about 200-300 persons in Shanghai created mainly by American, European and Israeli organizations and businessmen." So that would also imply that their mother tongue isn't Chinese. Even if Chinese were their first language, it is not nearly enough of a population to be included in the infobox. As for the others, there is also not enough of a Jewish population to warrant their inclusion in the infobox. Goalie1998 (talk) 16:44, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
There was a Jewish community in China, not just a immigrant community in Shanghai but anyway : what's the limit number to be included ? Isn't this the one that gives my second alternative : "if you talk about places where there are well-established Jewish communities, with their own particularities, then English (US, ...), Modern Hebrew, Russian and French should be enough" ? Pluto2012 (talk) 18:58, 12 July 2015 (UTC)


Lede is way too long[edit]

The lede is eight paragraphs long, and some are long paragraphs. This lede needs to be cut in half. Jusdafax 08:33, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree. At the same time I want to stress that this is a long article, so the lede can also be longer than usual. And, just to state the obvious, WP:LEADLENGTH is a general guideline, and some articles may deviate to either side of the guideline as needed. Debresser (talk) 12:59, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
True, so perhaps not in half. But it's at least a couple paragraphs too long. Jusdafax 23:44, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Better number estimate[edit]

A more recent estimate of the world jewish population. 14.2 million (including all people who identify as jews and the 200k people in israel who aren't recognized as Jews) - 16.5 million (including everyone with one jewish parent). (talk) 16:11, 27 July 2015 (UTC) But since the low estimate we have now has a country breakdown it might just be better to use the high number. (talk) 16:11, 27 July 2015 (UTC)