jewish family

  • Issue: May 1981
  • Designer: A. Hecht
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 17
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

"...and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their father..." (Malachi 3.24). Since the very dawn of history the biological, economic and genetic basis of mankind's existence has been the family.

For some million years the only family pattern was the so-called "nuclear family" consisting of the parents and their children. It was only much later, when Man started to produce his first tools designed to improve his living conditions that the "nuclear" family pattern changed into the "corporate" and "extended" family type which permitted the various vital functions and activities to be distributed among the members of the family.

The establishment of the "extended" family was a pre-condition for the start of human civilization in all its diversified and changing forms reflecting the different geographic, climatic and economic environment prevailing in the various inhabited regions of the globe.

The development of technology, followed by the process of industrialization, weakened the ties between the members of the "extended" family and led to a return to the "nuclear family".

The rapid development of modern transportation that permitted greater freedom of movement was a prime cause of the disruption of family ties and the further weakening of family cohesiveness. More recently, however, a tendency towards the establishment of closer ties between members of the modern family has made itself felt through a growing interest in family "roots" - a search for the family's geneology and an urge to learn about the traditions and heritage of the founders of the family.

The traditional Jewish family and the specific Jewish faith have together been responsible for preserving the Jewish people as a unique physical and spiritual unit throughout the 2000 years of the Jewish Diaspora - the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world.

In the view of many sociologists, the Jewish family can be considered as the "ideological" family type, founded as it is, on a common spiritual faith and code of behaviour based on the monotheistic and universalistic religion, rather than on the purely physical or genetic bonds. This finds expression in the concern of all members of the family for the well-being of each of its members, beginning with the protection of the young and the weak and culminating in the injunction "Cast us not out in our old age". The descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob although regarded by Jewish tradition as a privilege accorded to the people of Israel by Providence, is more the imposition of a set of moral duties than the bestowal of special privileges.

Nothing gives greater expression to the feeling of continuity of the Jewish family than the recital of the "Kadish" - the prayer recited by the bereaved members of a Jewish family in memory of their departed parents and other close relatives.

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The jewish family heritage