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Irish government turns to Jewish leaders on census

DUBLIN, Ireland (JTA) — The Irish government has asked Dublin’s Jewish leadership to urge congregants to complete their census forms.

The census, which will form part of the basis for state funding of religious education for the next five years, asks residents to specify their religious affiliation.

The extensive forms, which were distributed over three weeks and legally must be filed out, are due to be returned on Sunday.

Since the 2006 census, the questionnaire does not include a separate category for Jews. Instead, those identifying as Jewish have to write in their religion.

During the last census some Jewish community members expressed concern that unaffiliated Jews, many of them immigrants or temporary workers from Israel, Eastern Europe and the Americas, would go uncounted.

The Republic of Ireland has a Jewish population of less than 2,000, fewer than half of whom are affiliated with one of four synagogues in the state.

There are two Jewish schools — one primary and one secondary — but many of their students are not Jewish.

The Irish government that took office last month has promised to convene a national forum on education to begin the reform of religious control of state-funded schools, most of which are run by the Catholic Church.
 

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