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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Pew poll: 71% of non-Orthodox US Jews intermarry

I should preface this post by saying that I don't know anything about any of the participants in the wedding ceremony and that they may or may not have anything to do with the story below.

A new Pew poll - the first on the subject in more than ten years - reports that 58% of American Jews and 71% of non-Orthodox American Jews are marrying out of the faith. Pew is calling it a major decline in Jewish identity.
The intermarriage rate, a bellwether statistic, has reached a high of 58 percent for all Jews, and 71 percent for non-Orthodox Jews — a huge change from before 1970 when only 17 percent of Jews married outside the faith. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year.
“It’s a very grim portrait of the health of the American Jewish population in terms of their Jewish identification,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York.
The survey, by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, found that despite the declines in religious identity and participation, American Jews say they are proud to be Jewish and have a “strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people.”
While 69 percent say they feel an emotional attachment to Israel, and 40 percent believe that the land that is now Israel was “given to the Jewish people by God,” only 17 percent think that the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security. 
“It’s very stark,” Alan Cooperman, deputy director of the Pew religion project, said in an interview. “Older Jews are Jews by religion. Younger Jews are Jews of no religion.”
The trend toward secularism is also happening in the American population in general, with increasing proportions of each generation claiming no religious affiliation.
But Jews without religion tend not to raise their children Jewish, so this secular trend has serious consequences for what Jewish leaders call “Jewish continuity.” Of the “Jews of no religion” who have children at home, two-thirds are not raising their children Jewish in any way. This is in contrast to the “Jews with religion,” of whom 93 percent said they are raising their children to have a Jewish identity.
Reform Judaism remains the largest American Jewish movement, at 35 percent. Conservative Jews are 18 percent, Orthodox 10 percent, and groups such as Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal make up 6 percent combined. Thirty percent of Jews do not identify with any denomination.
In a surprising finding, 34 percent said you could still be Jewish if you believe that Jesus was the Messiah. 
While earlier generations of Orthodox Jews defected in large numbers, those in the younger generation are being retained. Several scholars attributed this to the Orthodox marrying young, having large families and sending their children to Jewish schools.
Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist of American Jewry at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York, and a paid consultant on the poll, said the report foretold “a sharply declining non-Orthodox population in the second half of the 21st century, and a rising fraction of Jews who are Orthodox.”
That last paragraph is nothing I haven't told you about before. I've posted this chart many times:

In Israel, many people think we're immune from this sort of thing. We're not. First of all, an increasing number of Israeli Jewish girls are running off with, or being kidnapped by Arabs. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a fundraiser for a group that rescues Jewish girls - from across the religious spectrum - from Arab villages throughout Israel.

Second, if there is ever 'peace' with the Arabs, you can bet that intermarriage will increase if only because Arabs will have more access to Israeli society. 

Third, secular Israelis often don't understand the difference between the different 'streams' of American Jews and can find themselves involved in relationships with those who are halachically (under Jewish law) non-Jewish.
The survey also portends “growing polarization” between religious and nonreligious Jews, said Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, senior director of research and analysis at the Jewish Federations of North America.
The Jewish Federations has conducted major surveys of American Jews over many decades, but the last one in 2000 was mired in controversy over methodology. When the federations decided not to undertake another survey in 2010, Jane Eisner, editor in chief of The Jewish Daily Forward, urged the Pew researchers to jump in.
It was a multimillion-dollar effort to cull 3,475 respondents from a pool of 70,000. They were interviewed in English and Russian, on landlines and cellphones from Feb. 20 to June 13, 2013. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus three percentage points.
Ms. Eisner found the results “devastating” because, she said in an interview, “I thought there would be more American Jews who cared about religion.”
“This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us as Jews,” she said, “to think about what kind of community we’re going to be able to sustain if we have so much assimilation.”
So what is likely to sustain us for the coming generations is exactly what sustained us for the last 3,000 years: Torah, Torah and more Torah. Too bad Torah is under attack even in Israel today.

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At 11:27 AM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

Stupid Jews and goyim! :)

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

It's no great loss when BDS jews Marry out. In fact, if undercuts their claim that they are loyal pro-Israel.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

This survey puts numbers to it... New Left Marcuse Marxism is eating Judaism. The politics of Judaism in Israel is blocking a prime leadership opportunity. The intermarriage could be taken as an opportunity to maintain, if not increase, the numbers of trained up Jews, if leadership drew people in and provided pathways, certificates, etc., rather than sliming them for domestic political points.

I agree with Carl that Torah is the cure, especially if taken from its clean reinstall form... and building from there, rather than focussing on the Rabbi rules that are seen by so many as political. I read Bereshit again, thinking to start writing Torah Economics dvar torah entries, but find myself to be a big chicken on being able to take the really horrible slimes that have been flung before... Torah Economics could be a field that counters the New Left Marcuse flesh eating dictator disease, in a fairly neutral field. Maybe.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Haredi Jews (as a group) are dependent upon secular Jews to actually earn a living, so that they may receive welfare handouts. They are a net drain on the Israeli economy. Hoping for more Torah is no solution whatsoever.

At 5:03 AM, Blogger Jesterhead45 said...

Red Tulips

I'm assuming that Carl meant Torah in the context of actually applying it in the real-world (alongside learning a trade) and evaluating the mundane as opposed to learning it without properly applying it.

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Jesterhead45 said...

Sorry, meant to say "elevating the mundane.."

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

By Carl's posting of the image wherein by numbers Haredim have the most kids, as well as his frequent support of Haredim, I assume he meant that, yes, Haredism is a solution or the solution.

That said, I agree that non-religious Judaism has bad long-term prospects in the USA and anywhere outside Israel.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

Tulips, the same chart shows "Centrist Orthodox" as well. You also assume that everyone in the right hand column is in Kollel and/or lives off of handouts. This is pure ignorance.


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