New Study Sees Jewish Identity Crisis

More American Jews are secular than ever before

  • Share
  • Read Later

American Jews are assimilating faster than ever before, and are increasingly identifying with Jewish culture rather than with the religion — if they identify as Jews at all.

That’s according to a major study published Tuesday by the Pew Religion & Public Life Project, which found that one in five American Jews identifies as having “no religion.” Sixty-two percent say Judaism is more about ancestry and culture than religious belief.

These findings also point to the future of American Jewish families. Seventy-nine percent of non-religious Jews have married outside the faith, while only 36 percent of religious Jews have intermarried. And 90 percent of religious Jews plan to raise their children at least partially Jewish, while two-thirds of Jews who say they have “no religion” do not plan to raise their kids Jewish at all.

14 comments
PMK1
PMK1

Accepting patrilineal descent is no answer.  It may boost numbers for the Conservative movement in the short term but if someone does not value the Jewish religious aspect of being Jewish, they don't value it and they will assimilate out sooner or later.   apparently sooner.

BernhardRosenberg2
BernhardRosenberg2


Subject: Pew poll: intermarriage now 71% for non-Orthodox


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/us/poll-shows-major-shift-in-identity-of-us-jews.html?_r=0

-----Original Message-----
 From: chaimdov <chaimdov@aol.com>
 To: chaimdov <chaimdov@aol.com>
 Sent: Tue, Oct 1, 2013 2:09 am
 Subject: intermarriage


 

No real answer to intermarriage RABBI BERNHARD ROSENBERG


I would like to add my thoughts to the debate Jack Wertheimer, professor of American-Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, has sparked regarding intermarriage and inmarriage and his assertion that welcoming intermarried families into the Jewish community has been a failure (Editor’s note: Gary Rosenblatt guest column Sept. 19, full article Mosaic online magazine — www.mosaicmagazine.com). In a perfect world, I would agree that more Jewish education and creative positive Jewish experiences would stem the trend of intermarriage. Logically this sounds right, but I can tell you with 40 years’ experience in Conservative synagogues, that the reality is that even the children with positive experiences who excelled in Hebrew school, intermarry. Some come from traditional homes. Many intermarry simply because they attend college away from home, fall in love and believe love will conquer all. A rabbi can speak himself blue in the face about the non-Jewish partner converting, but usually it makes no difference. The non-Jewish partner does not wish to convert and the Jewish partner feels compromise and accommodation will work things out. The pain and anguish occurs when the intermarried couple has children and there is a baptism. This tears the hearts out of the grandparents who have no choice; they do not want to lose their children or grandchildren.


The children of a non-Jewish mother are not Jewish. We have now lost them forever. I have heard it suggested that Conservative Judaism accept patrilineal descent with provisions encouraging Jewish education. I believe this will happen in the future, but I have problems accepting this solution.


I do not have the answer, and I believe no one does, but I do know that if one does not believe they are halachicly Jewish, they will not seek Judaism but will follow the non-Jewish mother’s religion.


Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

BarryButtBoy
BarryButtBoy

no you can tell a jew by the name, the beady eyes, the bigger nose and smile.. jews are easy to pock out.. just too bad they can'tbe trusted

AdamSmith
AdamSmith

This would mean something if it were put in the context of decreasing participation in religion in the US across all religions. 

"The clear and consistent short-term direction is negative -- including worship attendance growth, spiritual vitality and sense of mission and purpose. And as suggested by the eight-year decline in financial health. . . . it is likely that the broader erosion of vitality dates to at least 2000. What makes this even more sobering is the fact that this pattern of decline, here shown for American congregations as a whole, also holds within each of FACT's four primary faith families -- old-line Protestantism, Evangelical Protestantism, Catholic and Orthodox, and Other World Religions with few exceptions."

"In 2005, 42 percent of congregations strongly agreed that they were spiritually vital and alive. In 2008 that was down to 35 percent.

In 2005, 41 percent of congregations strongly agreed that they had a clear mission and purpose. In 2008, that was down to 36 percent."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absent a comparison to other religions, all this means is that Jews are like other Americans in their relation to religion.

Meanwhile, religious Jews tend to have much larger families. The core of the Jewish religion is vibrant, and organizations such as Chabad make it available and welcoming to those with a Jewish heritage who want to find out more.

JSH
JSH

Notice the picture choice. This is an example of poor picture editing at Time Magazine's website. The image shows religious Jews of Chasidic background. Not much to do with the post at all, aside from the fact that they are Jewish. Nor an uplifting image for that matter - a funeral procession. 

When picture editors are overworked, lack knowledge of their subject matter, and aren't able to be resourceful, the images will usually not come close to the quality of the text portion of a published piece. 

I am a photographer and care about image usage - and good journalism.

 

jzatopa
jzatopa

Shouldn't this say 

New Study Sees Americans being Americans?
What ever shall America do, could you imagine if we had to drop all the prefixes we use before the word American to Describe people who share the same country?  Oh the Humanity!!!

IceToes
IceToes

I don't see the problem with recognizing one's culture/heritage versus buying wholesale into a religion. For Jews, yes, the two are closely intertwined. One is Jewish by birth or (very rarely) conversion, but there is a beautiful range of practice; some people are very orthodox, others not practicing at all. In this case, you can't argue that someone is not Jewish or less Jewish because they are non-religious.

WesleyNathanielCarter
WesleyNathanielCarter

What is the issue?It is exactly like a non-religious person of Jamaican lineage, with a family practicing voodoo, marrying a white person. Would you say she suffers from an identity crisis? I would say she is building her own identity. You're a racist.

HenryMajor
HenryMajor

It's because religion is illogical and irrational, and usually espoused by people more interested in promoting hate. Jewish culture, on the other hand, is fun. 

AdamSmith
AdamSmith

@IceToes  

What is your basis for saying "very rarely by conversion?"

My congregation is 40% converts, who (due to the high bar to become a Jewish convert) are among the most knowledgeable and committed members of the congregation.

I wonder if this "survey" included Jewish converts at all.

AdamSmith
AdamSmith

@HenryMajor  

You have no idea what "Jewish culture" means if you have no understanding of the Jewish Religion.

It's like a child watching people intermittently running wildly around a football field without understanding the concepts of downs or scoring, much less the finer points of the rules.

AdamSmith
AdamSmith

@nuclearpogostick @AdamSmith  

As a Jew who sees more and more Jews coming to Chabad to learn more about Judaism, I can tell you you are an ignorant fool and no loss to the Jewish community.

Go sit on your nuclearpgostick, make sure to aim the tip directly up Uranus.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,105 other followers