Annual Readership Decreasing in United States

A member of the Yeshiva Meon Hatorah board in Spring Valley, New York, Lakewood resident Avrahom Joseph enjoys staying active by playing tennis and baseball. Avrahom Joseph, an avid reader, also likes to relax with a good book.

The benefits of reading every day are well documented and range from added knowledge to improved memory. Unfortunately, the portion of Americans who go an entire year without reading a single book has risen dramatically over the past few years.

According to a series of polls conducted by Gallup and Pew, only 8 percent of Americans failed to read a book over the course of 1978. By 1990, that figure had doubled, though the number decreased to 13 percent in 1999 and 2001. However, Pew reported that in 2011, the number of Americans who had not read a single book climbed to 18 percent of the population. In both 2012 and 2014, that figure held at 23 percent, nearly a quarter of the population.

The Americans population’s growing disinterest in literature can be seen in a number of different studies. Following another Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans in 1978 claimed to have read at least 11 books over the past year, with another 17 percent having read between 6 and 10. In 2014, only 28 percent of Americans had read 11 books or more, a number slightly higher than those who had not read at all.


Krav Maga – A Developmental History

Lakewood, New Jersey-based entrepreneur Avrahom Joseph divides his time between his professional responsibilities and a variety of leisure activities. An accomplished martial artist, Avrahom Joseph practices Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, and Krav Maga.

Developed by Imi Lichtenfeld in the mid-20th century, and used in the Israeli military, Krav Maga is an eclectic fighting style that focuses on aggressively neutralizing threats. It often targets vulnerable areas of the body, such as the throat and groin. In creating it, Lichtenfeld drew on his athletic background in weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing, and wrestling. He also combined techniques used in other fighting disciplines with the skills he acquired during military training to create a system of self-defense that is especially suited for close combat situations.

The Hungarian-born Lichtenfeld emigrated from Slovakia to the new state of Israel near the beginning of the Second World War. He soon joined Haganah, the predecessor of the Israeli Defense Forces, which recruited him to train other soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. In 1963, he retired from the military and began teaching Krav Maga to the general public.

Through Lichtenfeld’s Krav Maga schools in Tel Aviv and Netanya, a new generation was exposed to the fighting style, which became part of the curriculum in Israeli elementary and high schools. Today, Krav Maga is widely practiced by police, special military units, and individuals throughout Israel and other countries around the globe.

Chai Lifeline and Camp Simcha

A resident of Lakewood, New Jersey, Avrahom Joseph maintains a successful entrepreneurial career while giving back to the community by contributing to local and national charitable organizations. One of the groups Avrahom Joseph supports is Chai Lifeline, a New York City-based nonprofit that provides a range of services for children and families affected by cancer and other serious illnesses.

In pursuit of its mission to restore normalcy to the lives of youth facing life-threatening or debilitating diseases, Chai Lifeline oversees programs and activities that offer a respite from day-to-day struggles and foster a feeling of hope for the future. Every summer, the organization provides these experiences to hundreds of children through its medically supervised overnight camp, Camp Simcha.

Designed for youth between the ages of 6 and 20 who are currently undergoing or have recently completed treatment for cancer or hematological diseases, Camp Simcha gives attendees the chance to make new friends in a fun and safe environment. During their stay, campers enjoy arts and crafts, sports, entertainment, and a variety of other activities under the caring supervision of a staff of counselors and medical professionals that includes pediatric physicians, nurses, and therapists.

In addition to traditional camp accommodations, Camp Simcha’s 125-acre campus in New York’s Catskill Mountains contains state-of-the-art medical facilities prepared for everything from tending minor cuts and bruises to administering chemotherapy and other specialized treatments. As with Chai Lifeline’s other programs and services, Camp Simcha is free of charge to accepted applicants. More information can be found at or