Survey says American Jews polarised
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Survey says American Jews polarised

Nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Research Center flagged up that rates of intermarriage had increased significantly over the past decade.

Jewish lay leader of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), lights a candle celebrating the 1st night of Hanukah in the ship's chapel.   (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kilho Park/Released)
Jewish lay leader of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), lights a candle celebrating the 1st night of Hanukah in the ship's chapel. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kilho Park/Released)

A new report has shown how American Jews are polarising around the question of religion, with an increased likelihood that they identify as “Orthodox” or “atheist”.

The reflection came last week from the nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, which flagged up that rates of intermarriage had increased significantly over the past decade.

Four in 10 young Jewish adults aged 29 or under no longer describe themselves as ‘Jewish’ when it comes to religion, while 17 percent now say ‘Orthodox’, compared to just three percent of those aged 65 or over.

“Two sharply divergent expressions of Jewishness appear to be gaining ground,” Pew reported last week, “one involving religion deeply enmeshed in every aspect of life and the other involving little or no religion at all.”

The report’s authors added that “the youngest US Jews count among their ranks both a relatively large share of traditionally observant, Orthodox Jews and an even larger group of people who see themselves as Jewish for cultural, ethnic or family reasons but do not identify with Judaism – as a religion – at all”.

While both got involved in cultural activities, such as cooking traditional foods, visiting Jewish historical sites, or listening to Jewish or Israeli music, the two groups “feel they have not much or nothing at all in common” with each other.

Divergence stretches into politics, the survey found, with 75 percent of non-religious Jews voting for the Democrats and 86 percent of Orthodox Jews voting Republican.

The report also highlighted the rapid rise in intermarriage. Before 1980, only 18 percent of Jews married non-Jews, but in the past decade, that percentage is now between 61 and 72 percent, equating to roughly two in every three marriages.

For the first time, less than half of all young American adults aged 18 to 29 said they do not feel “attached to Israel”, as did two thirds of their parents’ generation.

A US serviceman lights a menorah on the first night of Chanukah

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments