February 21, 2010

A woman with 2,000 living descendants has just died at the age of 93.

2,000 living descendants — think about it. Yitta Schwartz had 15 children and a number of grandchildren that the family rounded at 200. The great- and great-great-grandchildren were so numerous that the family only estimated.

Schwartz was a Satmar Hasidic Jew who lived in the village of Kiryas Joel — a place we read about in the Supreme Court case Board of Education of Kiryas Joel v. Grument:
The residents of Kiryas Joel are vigorously religious people who make few concessions to the modern world and go to great lengths to avoid assimilation into it. They interpret the Torah strictly; segregate the sexes outside the home; speak Yiddish as their primary language; eschew television, radio, and English language publications; and dress in distinctive ways that include headcoverings and special garments for boys and modest dresses for girls. Children are educated in private religious schools, most boys at the United Talmudic Academy where they receive a thorough grounding in the Torah and limited exposure to secular subjects, and most girls at Bais Rochel, an affiliated school with a curriculum designed to prepare girls for their roles as wives and mothers. See generally, W. Kephart & W. Zellner, Extraordinary Groups (4th ed. 1991); I. Rubin, Satmar, An Island in the
According to the NYT article (the first link):
Like many Hasidim, Mrs. Schwartz considered bearing children as her tribute to God. A son-in-law, Rabbi Menashe Mayer, a lushly bearded scholar, said she took literally the scriptural command that “You should not forget what you saw and heard at Mount Sinai and tell it to your grandchildren.”

45 comments:

Chase said...

2000 descendants - Good for her!

Now, if all the idiots who try to rule the lives of others can shut up about the discredited theories of "overpopulation" of the world, the best efforts of mankind can get on with the business of making all lives more prosperous.

Moshe said...

I suspect the rounding was not because of an inability to count but because of a Jewish custom not to count people directly because it may bring the evil eye upon them. Her actual children were probably told to the interviewer by name.

kentuckyliz said...

I can imagine the clucking disapproval if the people under discussion were devout Catholics.

ricpic said...

Plus, she cooked a cholent to die for.

kentuckyliz said...

I just had a fb WV:

semenoff maintain

Seemed related to this story, somehow.

Titus might like that expression.

WV datiest

After John Mayer's comments about Jessica Simpson were published, she has been the datiest gal in the country.

Fred4Pres said...

That sounds like fun. I guess. An amazing number.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ha! Good for her.

I'm picking up a few descendants myself, not that they'll claim me.

The racial hypocrisy (of those who care so much about race) continues,...

Fred4Pres said...

I guess this clip is obligatory for this post...

spongeworthy said...

Ask her how many of her descendants wear glasses. (Answer: All.) Why? (Their eyesight is poor.) Why? (Because the Satmars are ridiculously inbred.)

edutcher said...

Adam and Eve and their descendants were told to multiply and overspread the Earth. Nice to see someone who took such joy in doing God's work :)

former law student said...

They interpret the Torah strictly; segregate the sexes outside the home; ... and dress in distinctive ways that include headcoverings and special garments for boys and modest dresses for girls.

Boy I wish some US feminists would aid these oppressed Satmar women. These people sound like radicalized Islamists to me.

Children are educated in private religious schools, most boys at the United Talmudic Academy where they receive a thorough grounding in the Torah
What else do they learn in these madrassas, I wonder.

most girls at Bais Rochel, an affiliated school with a curriculum designed to prepare girls for their roles as wives and mothers

Where are Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan when they are most needed.

Joan said...

Boy I wish some US feminists would aid these oppressed Satmar women.

A radical feminist I was very close to in college, upon hearing the news of my first pregnancy 13+ years ago, said to me, "Just because you have everything you think you always wanted doesn't mean you're really happy."

FLS reminds me of her today.

miller said...

I am, of course, waiting for Cedarford to drive by on this topic. Should be making his head 'splode about now.

Duscany said...

I can't understand why some people are so happy to see more people in the world. I live in Los Angeles and I tell you we've got far more people than we need for any reasonable purpose.

The freeways (even in this deep recession) are jammed with cars from morning to nite. Store parking lots are full. Supermarket aisles crowded. If you wanted to camping 40 years ago, the entire Sierras was wide open. Today, to climb Mt. Whitney you need to apply for a lottery held on a single day in February. Just to take a hike in the mountains 20 minutes north of Los Angeles, you now need a parking pass.

Everyone worries so much about carbon footprints when the real problem, it seems to me, is carbon lungplants. Is there any problem we now have that more people is going to make better?

Jim said...

I'd hate to be her mailman on mother's day or around her birthday.

Florida said...

15 kids. Wow.

My uterus hurts.

HKatz said...

"Boy I wish some US feminists would aid these oppressed Satmar women."

They can help themselves. I know ultra-Orthodox women from these communities in the U.S. who decided to lead a different lifestyle. They wound up doing so, sucessfully, without fear of violent reprisals from their families and communities.

"These people sound like radicalized Islamists to me."
Really? You mean, like radical Islamists, they're plotting ways to undermine society? Preferably in violent ways targeting civilians? Blowing up airplanes and trains and such...?

Or are you comparing them to traditionally religious Muslims in general? (which, possibly, you're equating with "radical Islamists"?)

I sense the attempt at cleverness and irony in your post, but your point falls flat.

Beth said...

They wound up doing so, sucessfully, without fear of violent reprisals from their families and communities.

Thanks - that's a defining point in explaining how Americans enjoy both religious freedom, and the freedom to eschew the religious restrictions of their families' traditions. Sects that seek to prevent their members from exercising their full rights as U.S. citizens are the problem.

Diamondhead said...

"The freeways (even in this deep recession) are jammed with cars from morning to nite. Store parking lots are full. Supermarket aisles crowded. If you wanted to camping 40 years ago, the entire Sierras was wide open. Today, to climb Mt. Whitney you need to apply for a lottery held on a single day in February. Just to take a hike in the mountains 20 minutes north of Los Angeles, you now need a parking pass."


So move.

former law student said...

I can't understand why some people are so happy to see more people in the world.

The world population of Jews is six million short -- two thousand is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

RiceBowlHaircut said...

Her bed sheet must look like swiss cheese......or do they use the same hole over and over again?

Jeff said...

Duscany:

Then kill yourself. Doing so will solve two problems:

First, there'll be one less person taking up space.

Second, you'll never have to spend a single additional second worrying about overpopulation.

traditionalguy said...

It says that they teach their children a thorough grounding in the Torah.That is living as recommended in Psalm 1 with the promised results in abundance.Torah is God's teachings on the way to live life as revealed to Moses.They think of it as a perfect curriculum. The Talmud is the great teacher's lessons on the curriculum.

mariner said...

fls:
The world population of Jews is six million short -- two thousand is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

That was 60 years ago. By now it's tens of millions short.

;)

Duscany said...

Former Law Student: "The world population of Jews is six million short."

The supply of logic at your IP address is pretty short too.

Duscany said...

Jeff: "Then kill yourself... there'll be one less person taking up space... you'll never have to spend a single additional second worrying about overpopulation."

Okay, I'll bite. Which of the world's problems will be made better by more people on the planet?"

Duscany said...

Diamondhead: "So move."

Tell me again. What's the reason you want to see more people on the planet?"

Duscany said...

Diamondhead: "So move."

Tell me again. What's the reason you want to see more people on the planet?"

William said...

They didn't write. They didn't call. None of them. Now it's too late. I hope they're sorry now. But it's too late. They should be ashamed of themselves.

former law student said...

Hitler wanted to wipe out the Jews, and apparently Duscany thinks that was a great idea.

traditionalguy said...

Duscany...More people means more interactions that men and women and God are here to enjoy. Lighten up and find some safe people who love and protect you. Once people learn a productive lifestyle from parents and institutional authority figures, then the sky is the limit on goodness. They all die by age 90 anyway, so why begrudge them their short lives? Jews, for example, are about 20 million world wide.How much land could they spoil? So why do they always have to be the first killed by the nobel scientists of beneficial exterminations?

Duscany said...

Former law student: "Hitler wanted to wipe out the Jews, and apparently Duscany thinks that was a great idea."

More evidence of your truly second class mind. You have no response so you call people names.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The more people on the planet, the smaller the fraction who are Duscany.

former law student said...

Recapping:

Althouse: [Jewish] woman with 2000 living descendants has just died.

Duscany: I can't understand why some people are so happy to see more people in the world

FLS: -6 million + 2000 = still 6 million short

Duscany: Illogical, Cap'n Kirk

Duscany: What's the reason you [Jeff] want to see more people on the planet?

FLS: Duscany is happy to have six million fewer Jews on the planet. Who else was happy to have six million fewer Jews on the planet? Guy with a Chaplin mustache, wasn't it?

Duscany: Name caller!

traditionalguy said...

Thoughts on "Too many people" crusaders: The desire to decrease population centers itself in a group that will not be affected, except by inheriting the dead people's place. It is always about those extra, unwanted, people. Thomas Malthus taught that. Then the English Empire, who had plenty of food, directed that millions of the the Irish be left to starve to make the world better in Ireland in the 1849-49 potato crop failure in Ireland. A few made it here and lived. Also the target is strangely the women. Women are hated in evil dominated cultures because they are the makers of the human babies. That Palin monster made five.

Duscany said...

former law suident: "FLS: Duscany is happy to have six million fewer Jews on the planet. Who else was happy to have six million fewer Jews on the planet? Guy with a Chaplin mustache, wasn't it?"

Repeating an illogical argument doesn't make any more true the second time around. It's just more proof that you and logic are total strangers.

Duscany said...

TraditionalGuy: "Women are hated in evil dominated cultures because they are the makers of the human babies. That Palin monster made five."

It's a little unbecoming to call someone a monster. Still I agree that five is excessive. If Palin had asked me I would have suggested she stop at two and adopt a baby moose or something for anything beyond that.

Akiva said...

RiceBowlHaircut, don't believe every myth you've heard about specific tight ethnic cultures.

Duscany, what's the right number? Note that the US is just above replacement numbers on births, while Italy is so far BELOW replacement level that they have no choice but to massively import labor to keep the country from collapse over the next generation.

BTW, the thing keeping the US at just-above replacement level is mostly the Hispanic immigrants from Central & South America. The WASP population is reproducing far below replacement level.

Just to make it interesting, the more successful & towards upper-middle class or above (financially speaking) that American's are, the less likely to reproduce at the replacement level. No time for kids when one's being highly successful. (I'll note this seems to change for the "super-rich", where having 4+ children seems somewhat normal.)

So the success factors, whether genetic or environmental, fail to get passed on among the professors, scientists, and businessmen.

Among religious Jews the opposite occurs. Large families are the norm, and those successful's children are highly prized as marriage partners - passing both the genetic and environmental factors on to the next generation.

(Success in Jewish religious circles may be defined by intellect and it's corresponding success at mastering the complex religious texts, or by a good economic situation through profession or business.)

Duscany said...

Akiva: "Duscany, what's the right number?"

I would think it should be below replacement level until world population falls to a sustainable level (perhaps one half what it is today).

"Among religious Jews the opposite occurs. Large families are the norm, and those successful's children are highly prized as marriage partners - passing both the genetic and environmental factors on to the next generation."

I'm not sure what you're saying--that Jews should have more children than other people because their offspring are unusually successful?

former law student said...

It's just more proof that you and logic are total strangers.

A bit funny coming from the fellow who believes that LA's population density is a microcosm of the world's, that having to wait in line at Ralph's is a sign of the apocalypse, and that the desire of mountain climbers to check off the highest peak in the lower 48 is a direct result of a yiddishe mama being fruitful and multiplying in some hamlet up the Hudson.

If duscany would kindly ratchet the level of his argumentation up a notch, I would endeavor to follow suit.

Duscany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akiva said...

Duscany - no what I'm saying is 21st century successful Western culture people are self selecting their success OUT of the gene+environment pool, because children are inconvenient and/or the complications of parenting may hinder their success.

Patuxent said...

Duscany

I couldn’t agree with you more.

When I was living in Maryland, an environmental activist for the Chesapeake Bay (the great environmental cause in eastern MD) came to my door to ask for a contribution.

Now, the major pollution problem in the Chesapeake is nitrate, which has two major sources, food production and sewage treatment -- functions of population growth.

Census Bureau figures show that virtually all U.S. population growth in recent decades comes from post-1970 immigrants and their descendants (effect of the Immigration Act of 1965). So I asked him what his organization’s position on immigration was. He said they didn’t have one. (Immigration reduction being racist, dontcha know -- the rest of the world has a civil right to move to the United States.)

I told him that without one, he was treading nitrates at best and to come back when his outfit wants to get real about the environment, but don’t ask Americans to make sacrifices just to let tens of millions more people into the country.

It’s hard to think of a single social problem mass immigration/population growth isn’t making worse -- general environmental impact, water shortages, traffic, infrastructure strain, school shortages, prison overcrowding, growing gap between rich and poor (endless supply of coolie labor from the Third World that ,along with imports and outsourcing, undercuts wages and unions), healthcare costs, on and on.

As California was going broke, the state financial authority issued a report pointing out the three major areas of expenditure growth overwhelming the budget: education, transportation (which doubtlessly means road construction and maintenance in CA) and public healthcare costs. State authorities won’t mention high immigration levels, of course, but they’re at the root of all these problems.

Duscany said...

Patuxant:

I have often wondered why environmentalists talk so much about the need to reduce everyone's carbon footprint but never about the one sure way to get there--encouraging people to have fewer children and thus fewer footprints. It's not as if there's a crying shortage of people anywhere I've ever been.

Patuxent said...

Duscany --

Because that's viewed (preposterously) as racist. And anti-racism, even if it's only a pose that has nothing of substance to do with the issue at hand, trumps everything -- even the environment for environmentalists.

When I was born half a century ago, whites were about 25% of world population; now (last I looked, a few years ago) the figure was around 15%. So it's pretty obvious where the population growth is not.

Whites are very, very uncomfortable telling non-whites that the USA has a large enough population already -- too large, perhaps -- and that growing to half a billion by mid-century through immigration is going to diminish our quality of life. Same for general population growth in the Third World -- bwana ain't gonna go there.

At Portland State in 1998, I think, President Clinton gave a speech in which "whites will soon be a minority in America" was an applause line -- he waited for it and he got it.

That's what you're up against. Piously,and rather mindlessly, "celebrating diversity" (Lord, the avalanche of empty, high-minded platitudes that generates) is more important than anything -- again, including the environment for most environmentalists. Even the Sierra Club won't take an immigration reduction position.