New Pew study shows demographic problems for American Jews – Jewish Business News

New Pew Study Shows Demographic Problems For American Jews

The last such study was published in 2013.

The Pew Research Center released a new survey on the religious attitudes and affiliations of the American Jewish community. The study was conducted for the year 2020. The results are similar to those of another Pew study conducted just a few years ago. Orthodox Jews are seeing an increase in their numbers and share in the total population of the community, while conservative and reformist groups have declined.

In 2013, a Pew survey caused a stir in American Jewry when it showed that reform had outgrown conservatives, determined by the number of respondents describing themselves as reformists. Today the gap has widened, with Reformers seeing almost four times as many Jews under the age of 30 identifying with him than identifying as conservatives. At this rate, the Conservatives are in danger of disappearing in the near future.

According to the Pew Report, more than a quarter of American Jewish adults – 27% – do not identify with the Jewish religion. Among these Jews, they consider themselves ethnically, culturally or family Jews. They have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish, but they answer a question about their current religion by describing themselves as an atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” rather than a Jew. Four in ten Jewish adults under the age of 30 describe themselves this way.

(from the Pew Research study)

The news is worse for the two largest traditionally Jewish denominations in America, Reformists and Conservatives. According to Pew, only about four in ten Jewish adults under the age of 30 identify with either reform – 29% – or conservative Judaism – 8%. This is compared to 70% of those Jews aged 65 and over. This clearly shows that these two groups combined have lost about half of their affiliates over the generations. In other words, unless many people under 30 who are not inclined to become members of a synagogue change their minds once they have a family and return to the denomination of their youth.

However, these numbers contrast sharply with the American Orthodox Jewish community.

Pew shows that young Jewish adults are much more likely than older Jews to identify as Orthodox. Among Jews aged 18 to 29, 17% identify as Orthodox, compared with just 3% of Jews aged 65 and over. And one in ten American Jewish adults under 30 is Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox – 11% – compared to 1% of Jews 65 and over. This can be attributed to the much higher birth rate in the Orthodox community. But it is also because many young people from non-Orthodox homes have been moving to the Orthodox world for decades.

As for Israel, the survey found that young American Jews are less emotionally attached to Israel than older ones. In 2020, half of Jewish adults under 30 describe themselves as very or somewhat emotionally attached to Israel – 48% – compared to two-thirds of Jews aged 65 and over. It can also be attributed to the fact that young Jews are less likely to identify as religious or affiliated with a synagogue or denomination.

Non-Orthodox denominations in America attributed the decline in support for Israel and feelings of a connection to it among American Jewish youth to that country’s religious policy. In Israel, only the Orthodox rabbinate is recognized as an official form of Judaism for weddings and other purposes. They also cite Israel’s recent policy towards the Palestinians as another cause. But that fails to recognize that they themselves have seen a deterioration in their own membership, more and more of their new generations of young people re-affiliating in one way or another, or becoming secular.

Whatever the reasons, the results of this Pew study are likely to find only positive rest within the American Orthodox Jewish community. Other denominations will need to understand why they are shrinking and find ways to reverse the trend.

The study also showed that the majority of American Jews politically identify as liberals and vote for the Democratic Party rather than the Republican in elections. Most also gave a negative opinion to the conservative Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Regarding the recent conflict in Gaza, Pew found that Orthodox Jews were more likely than Jews of other denominations to say that the Israeli government was making a sincere effort to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians and that God gave the land which is now Israel. to the Jewish people. In contrast, most American Jews said they did not believe that neither the Israeli government nor the Palestinian leadership was sincerely seeking peace. And most Jewish adults took the position that God “didn’t literally give” the land of Israel to the Jewish people – 42% – or said they don’t believe in God or a higher power at all. – 24%.

(From the Pew study)

How Pew conducted the investigation:
For this report, Pew interviewed 4,718 American adults who identify as Jews, including 3,836 religious Jews and 882 non-religious Jews. The survey was administered online and by mail by Westat, from November 19, 2019 to June 3, 2020. Respondents were drawn from a stratified national random sample of residential mailing addresses, which included addresses from all 50 states and the United States. District of Columbia. No lists of common Jewish names, lists of members of Jewish organizations, or other indicators of Jewishness were used to take the initial sample.

Pew first sent letters to the sampled addresses asking an adult (18 years or older) living in the household to complete a short tracing survey (“the screener”) online or on a paper form, which they sent back to us by post. The assessor collected demographic characteristics and determined eligibility. In households with more than one adult resident, we randomly selected the respondent by a simple method, such as asking the person who recently celebrated a birthday to fill in the filter.

A total of 68,398 people across the country completed screening. Respondents who indicated in the questionnaire that they were Jewish were invited to participate in a longer survey. Three criteria were used to determine eligibility for the expanded survey: (1) whether the responding adult declared their current religion to be Jewish; (2) if the responding adult did not identify their religion as Jewish, but stated that apart from religion they considered themselves to be Jewish in any way, for example ethnically, culturally or because of his family history; (3) if the responding adult did not identify with the first two criteria but declared to have been brought up in the Jewish tradition or to have a Jewish parent. All adults who reported any of these criteria were given the in-depth survey to complete.

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