Highlights of Jewish
by Julie Wiener
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
NEW YORK - Following are some of the main points of a new study of American Jewish identity, released last week:
* There are approximately 5.5 million American adults who are either Jewish by religion or of Jewish parentage and/or upbringing, the same number found in 1990 by the National Jewish Population Survey. However, 2.8 million, or 51 percent, say their religion is Jewish, compared with 58 percent in the 1990 survey.
* Among adults of Jewish parentage and/or upbringing, nearly 1.4 million say they are members of a non-Jewish religion or profess a different religion.
* Thirty-three percent of Jews - defined as people either raised Jewish or who say Judaism is their religion - are married to non-Jews, compared with 28 percent in 1990.
* Forty-two percent of Jews who say Judaism is their religion, not simply their ethnicity or heritage, describe their outlook as secular, while 14 percent say they do not believe in God. In contrast, just 15 percent of adults nationally describe their outlook as secular, and 4 percent of adults nationally say they do not believe in God.
The new study was conducted by Egon Mayer, director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Ariela Keysar, also of the Center for Jewish Studies; and Barry Kosmin, who oversaw the 1990 study and currently is director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London. All three were involved in the 1990 study.
The new study is under the auspices of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and was funded by the Posen Foundation, a British family foundation.
It repeats methodology that was used in the 1990 study, including screening participants through a marketing firm survey that makes some of its calls on Shabbat. That methodology has been criticized for potentially undercounting observant Jews.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, November 15, 2001