Sunday, December 22, 2013

Judaism Declines from 3 to 2 Percent of US Pop.; Young Jews Intermarry, Don't Join a Synagogue

A new major survey by the Pew Research Center -- titled "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" -- indicates Jews have declined as a share of U.S. population from about 3 percent in the 1950s to less than 2 percent today, the WWRN (World Wide Religious News) website reports today (December 22, 2013).

It also suggests Jews are becoming less observant, with 32 percent of young Jewish adults describing themselves as having "no religion" and instead identifying themselves on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity, or culture.

Survey director Alan Cooperman acknowledges that the findings have triggered alarm. "The level of interest in this from the Jewish community is greater than I've seen in any previous survey that we've done," he said, adding that there is particular concern that young Jews are less likely than their parents to join a synagogue or support Israel.

Around 58 percent of Jews are now marrying out of the faith and, Cooperman noted, "intermarriage is correlated with lower religiosity." Heidi Lamar grew up in the liberal Reform Jewish movement and later changed to Orthodox Judaism. She believes the liberal branches of her faith -- that is, Reform and Conservative Judaism -- are in the process of dying out because of intermarriage and low birth rates.

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