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Who will watch over the family?

Sociological and demographic studies that are being published about the western world show that the family structure has been undermined and that there is severe concern regarding rapidly declining birth rates.

“The strongest revolution that has overtaken the modern world in the last third of the 20th century has undermined the cohesiveness of the family. In the last 35 years, a few interconnected developments have been taking place simultaneously. The birth rate in the western world has shrunk to the point of negative growth in the developed world. People marry later, and the ages of unmarried singles have risen. What is most significant is that the family unit has suffered. Every second or third family in the modern world may face the threat of divorce. Many of those who choose to live together do so without tying the knot of marriage.” [1]

The global study, “The Rise of Post-Familism: Humanity’s Future” [2] published by Prof. Joel Kotkin, found that an unprecedented number of men and women – about 30% of the population – choose not to have children, and sometimes not to live with one another.

This study also uncovers a decline in birth rate, from 2.75 children per female in 1960 to 1.75 in 2010. In the US alone, research findings show that in 2012 almost 20% of the women between the ages of 40-44 were childless, as compared to 10% in 1976.

The widespread collapse of the family structure is not accidental, and frankly, not surprising. The cultural decay in the western world has led to this breakdown, and may present a real threat.

The postmodern revolution that is based on “human freedom”, talks about how each person has control over his or her own body and life, the right to act freely without coercion, the freedom of religion and conscience, and the natural rights every person is entitled to. This new world order towards life and reality has brought upon an outlook that endangers the existence of humanity.

This new perspective is a result of a long process that strives to redefine man’s goal in life, which has been morphing, and transforming for the last hundreds of years and during different periods.

In modern times the importance of family for a person’s success has not been forgotten.

“The nuclear family for millennia has been understood as the ideal way to raise caring, responsible, and productive adults. This was the framework of the traditional household with two parents – one who usually worked, and the second who stayed at home to take care of the children.” [3]

In contrast to that approach, the postmodern society has redefined the essence of family.

“Today, the family structure reflects the emphasis on the differences, on the uniqueness and on the uncertainty of the “adaptable family”.

The new order of family values begins and ends with self-fulfillment and autonomy, meaning that each family member has the right to deal with his/her personal issues before showing loyalty to the family (house).” [4]

The cultural changes, which have led to the redefining of the family in the western world, also influences the State of Israel.

Those processes create new public awareness; husband and wife, children and their grandparents are portrayed as separate entities in the postmodern world.

In this line of thinking the traditional family does not exist as a form of community. Moreover, the political elite under the influence of a radical feminism continuously attacks the family unit.

“The traditional model of the nuclear family, which consists of two parents – one from each gender – bestows extra power to the male and thus suppresses the female. Based upon this, the liberal outlook of social morality regards the traditional nuclear family obsolete as it contradicts self-accomplishment and socially oppresses woman.” [5]

In the universities, courts of law and the media the postmodern outlook dominates the conversation. The discussion of rights that is commonly used as a legal term, in the new postmodern world puts the individual in the center endangering the social structure.

In order to cope with the crisis of the postmodern family and everything that comes with it, we are in need of genuine Jewish leadership that formulates policy based on the everlasting values of Torah.

Whoever is worried about the family structure must remember that there is only one leader in the political space who has pledged to make decisions that strengthen the nuclear family.

A vote for Knesset member Betzalel Smotrich, the chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, will protect our families. If we strengthen him with our vote next Tuesday, he, as our advocate, will strengthen our families.

[1] Professor Yonatan Peres “Who will safeguard the family?”

[2] Professor Joel Kotkin is a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University

[3] David Elkind; “School and family in the post- modern world”. David Elkind is an American child psychologist and author.

[4] “ “

[5] Dr. Chaim Cohen “The Philosophy of the Liberal Family”

Source: Rabbi Yakov Yakir – Arutz Sheva