New survey of American Jews reveals considerations, strengths, divisions

A brand new complete survey of American Jews finds them more and more involved about anti-Semitism, pleased with their cultural heritage, and deeply divided over the significance of spiritual observance of their lives.

the investigation, revealed Tuesday by the Pew Analysis Heart, estimated the nation’s complete Jewish inhabitants at 7.5 million, or about 2.3 p.c of the nationwide inhabitants.

The survey of 4,178 American Jews was performed between November 2019 and June 2020 – nicely earlier than the present escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian battle. Nevertheless, the outcomes mirrored the skepticism of American Jews in regards to the battle – solely a 3rd mentioned the Israeli authorities was honest in its pursuit of peace; simply 12% mentioned the Palestinian management was honest on this regard.

In comparison with People total, American Jews are on common older, have greater ranges of training and revenue, and are extra geographically concentrated within the Northeast, in response to Pew.

But even because the Jewish inhabitants thrives in some ways, considerations about anti-Semitism have grown amid the lethal 2018 and 2019 assaults on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; the Poway Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California; and a kosher grocery retailer in Jersey Metropolis, New Jersey.

Three-quarters of American Jews say there’s extra anti-Semitism in the US than there was 5 years in the past, and 53% say they really feel much less protected. Jews who put on distinctive spiritual clothes equivalent to headwear are significantly prone to really feel much less safe.

The impression of such considerations on folks’s habits appears restricted: Pew reported that the overwhelming majority of American Jews – together with those that really feel much less safe – say their concern over anti-Semitism has not deterred them from take part in Jewish celebrations and occasions.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, mentioned American Jews consider they’re the targets of assaults and vitriol, but additionally see anti-Semitism as half of a bigger nationwide drawback of bigotry and intolerance.

“We should finish tolerance for intolerance in the US,” he advised The Related Press. “Hatred and bigotry existed earlier than 5 – 6 years in the past, however lately it has turn into acceptable to do it in a really public and unrestrained method.”

By Pew’s standards, Jews are considerably much less spiritual than American adults as a complete. For instance, 21% mentioned faith was essential of their lives, in comparison with 41% of all American adults. A majority of American adults say they consider in God “as described within the Bible”, in comparison with 26% of Jews. And 12% of American Jews say they attend church companies at the least as soon as per week, in comparison with 27% of most people.

Orthodox Jews stand out on this regard. They’re among the many most spiritual teams in American society when it comes to the proportion – 86% – who say faith is essential of their lives, in comparison with 78% of black Protestants and 76% of white evangelicals.

In response to Pew, 9% of American Jews describe themselves as Orthodox. Many extra belong to the 2 lengthy dominant branches of American Judaism: 37% establish as reformists and 17% as conservatives. Multiple in 4 don’t establish with any specific department, however take into account themselves to be Jewish from an ethnic, cultural or household perspective.

Interfaith marriage is commonplace: 42% of married Jewish adults reported having a non-Jewish partner, in response to Pew.

Jacobs mentioned he needed Reform congregations to embrace this phenomenon quite than seeing it as an indication of fading.

“Blended marriages can broaden the membership of the Jewish neighborhood,” he mentioned. “You see black, brown, and Asian households selecting to be part of Jewish life.”

Pew discovered proof that America’s Jewish inhabitants is more and more racially and ethnically various. Total, 92% of Jewish adults establish as non-Hispanic white and eight% establish with all different classes mixed. However amongst Jews between the ages of 18 and 29, that determine rises to fifteen%.

Pew’s investigation means that different generational adjustments are occurring. For instance, amongst Jews aged 18 to 29, 17% establish as Orthodox, in comparison with simply 3% of these 65 and over. And amongst Jewish adults beneath 30, 37% establish with Reform or Conservative Judaism, in comparison with round 70% of these 65 and over.

Politically, American Jews have a tendency to assist the Democratic Occasion. Within the survey, which was performed months earlier than the 2020 election, 71% mentioned they have been Democrats or Democrats.

However Orthodox Jews moved in the wrong way: 75% of them mentioned they have been Republicans or Trending Republicans, up from 57% in 2013. And 86% of them certified the dealing with of Donald Trump’s coverage in the direction of Israel as “wonderful” or “good,” “whereas the vast majority of all American Jews have described it as” righteous “or” poor. “

Whereas there are indicators of political polarization amongst American Jews, the survey additionally revealed areas of consensus. For instance, over 80% say they really feel at the least some sense of belonging to the Jewish folks, and three-quarters say “being Jewish” could be very or considerably essential to them.

Pew requested respondents which of the assorted causes and actions are “important,” “essential however not important” or “not essential” to what it means to be Jewish to them. Over 70% mentioned it was important to recollect the Holocaust and lead a ethical and moral life, and 59% mentioned they labored for social justice.

Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom, a conservative synagogue in Encino, Calif., Stated he hopes American Jews can keep solidarity at the same time as their ranks diversify and plenty of surrender spiritual apply.

“It’s our crucial to search out methods to be agile and persuasive sufficient that Jews wish to make investments their time and assets in the neighborhood at massive,” he mentioned by way of e mail. “So the battle for me isn’t identification, however the apply of Jewish life and the way we maintain a neighborhood collectively when others attempt to separate us.

Rabbi Motti Seligson, media director of the Chabad-Lubavitcher Hasidic group, has expressed satisfaction and optimism because the ranks of younger Orthodox Jews stay sturdy. But he praised different younger adults who don’t establish as spiritual however nonetheless embrace Jewish tradition and traditions.

“They eschew the previous development of denominational affiliation and select a Jewish life-style of their very own however which is in the end linked to their folks and their heritage,” he mentioned.

Pew’s investigation was performed on-line and by mail; the margin of error for questions requested of all respondents was plus or minus 3 share factors.


The Related Press spiritual protection receives assist from the Lilly Endowment by way of The Dialog US. The AP is solely liable for this content material.

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