Pew Research recently released results of a survey reporting that American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. The Pew Research Center survey – the most comprehensive survey of the U.S. Jewish population in more than a decade – also suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America. We thought you’d be interested to read a letter from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, of the Union for Reform Judaism (below), and a recent New York Times article written about the results.
What do you think about the results of the survey? Do you agree or disagree with what was found? What do you think it says about the future of Judaism?
As you may know, the Pew Research Center has released what already is a much-discussed survey of American Jews. Because the full report is more than 200 pages long, the URJ has prepared an instant analysis of the survey’s key findings, particularly as they relate to Reform Jews. Although the results are open to varied interpretations, the data include much good news for Reform Judaism:
• More than one-third of all U.S. Jews identify with the Reform Movement.
• Fifty-five percent of Jews who were raised within the Reform Movement stay within the Movement. At the same time, 11% of Orthodox Jews and 30% of Conservative Jews switch to join the Reform Movement.
• Social justice, a cornerstone of Reform Judaism, is of prime importance to American Jews.
• Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that caring about Israel is essential to their Jewish identity, and overall support for Israel is in line with our Movement’s positions.
At the same time, there are – not surprisingly – areas where the data present us with challenges. Even as we, individually and collectively, are addressing some of them, others highlighted by the survey’s results will demand more of our time, creative energy, and best thinking. Full results of the survey are available on the Pew Research website.