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Thursday, December 09, 2010

The things that cross my mind in the middle of the night...

... never cease to amaze me.

For instance, last night I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and ended up reading a New York Times article about Antarctica's geologic secrets, and the tiny scientific community working to get to the bottom of them (pun intended).

Yes, I have some odd and random interests. But it gets worse.

After I'd finished reading the article, I started wondering about the people who are stationed at this remote, frozen scientific outpost... which led to speculation about how many Jews there might be down there.

I didn't have to wonder for long, because it seems there truly is a wikipedia page for just about everything [the relevant portions only]:

Religion in Antarctica

Although Antarctica has only a tiny population, its inhabitants come from around the world, and include followers of numerous religious faiths.

According to The Association of Religion Data Archives, 72.00% of personnel in Antarctica adhere to Christianity, 23.60% are non-religious, 2.71% are Muslim, 1.00% are Hindu, and 0.70% are Buddhist. With a small human population of roughly 5,000 in summer months and 1,000 in winter, religious affiliation surveys may not represent a static reflection of current trends among the personnel on the continent.

Weird, no? With all the Jews involved in the scientific community, not one Jew in all of Antarctica. Go know! I guess they're all busy controlling the media and the banks.

I'm not sure what's stranger; that there are no members of the tribe on ice near the south pole... or that I found myself intensely interested in this at three in the morning.

Posted by David Bogner on December 9, 2010 | Permalink


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There might be some Jews among the 23.6% non-religious

Posted by: Chaim Sherman | Dec 9, 2010 1:09:22 PM

Yes, yes there are! They even have services:

Posted by: Alissa | Dec 9, 2010 3:15:34 PM

Alissa - very perplexing halachic conundrums in that article.

Posted by: quietusleo | Dec 9, 2010 3:41:31 PM

I know several Yids (scientists) who have spent extended periods there.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 9, 2010 7:27:27 PM

We have a US support base for Antarctica in Christchurch on the S. Island. There may be some Jews there who fly in and out. If it makes you feel any better I also think angular thoughts in the middle of the night. I put it down to being creative or what I ate the night before:-)

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Dec 9, 2010 7:52:34 PM


Posted by: debbie | Dec 9, 2010 9:05:37 PM

"I guess they're all busy controlling the media and the banks." LOL

Posted by: antares | Dec 9, 2010 10:28:07 PM

See? As Jack said.... The Jews are smart and only do their job and leave!!!

Posted by: Val | Dec 10, 2010 3:16:32 AM

No Chabad in Antarctica?

Posted by: Sarah | Dec 10, 2010 2:57:26 PM

I can just imagine Jewish life in Antarctica. Every morning, a small group would assemble for the Sh-sh-sh-shacharit service, at which they would recite (of course) all of the proper brrrrrrr-achot. And every Shabbat, they would serve a festive meal, the centerpiece of which would be a roast penguin (seals and walruses not meeting the criteria of kashrut).

Posted by: Elisson | Dec 10, 2010 7:09:48 PM

Kiwi Noa - I find it almost more interesting that there is a Jewish community in a place called Christchurch. :)

Posted by: psachya | Dec 10, 2010 8:51:15 PM

I knew a Jewish (I think even observant)girl who had worked in Antartica for a 6 month stint. She was checking out law/med school (simultaneously!) at Penn. She told us how she had taken the LSATs down in Antartica and due to the extreme cold was having trouble with the reading comprehension. Apparently in extreme cold everyone loses their short-term memories. She would get to the questions in the reading comp section and couldn't recall what she'd just read! There must have been other Jews too.

Posted by: Noa | Dec 11, 2010 10:20:22 PM

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