Do you really need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing?
But I do know that every American Jewish community professional has been waiting the release of the Pew Research Center’s study of Jewish Americans which will be released on May 11, 2021.
The top grab-and-go’s are:
As a percentage of the U.S. population, the size of the adult Jewish population is relatively stable.
The population of Jews has increased, but so has the rest of the population. Pew estimates that 2.4% of U.S. adults identify as Jewish (0.6% of the 2.4% as cultural Jews of no religion). Back in 2013, during the Obama Administration, the estimate was 2.2%. Pew reports that the 2.4% translates into 7.5 million (5.8 million adults, 1.8 million kids) That’s is 500,00 more adults and 500,000 more kids than in 2013.
Those identifying as Jewish are more racially and ethnically diverse. 8% identify as Jewish as well as a category
other than non Hispanic white. Among Jews ages 18 to 29, 15% identify as other than non Hispanic White. 29% of Jewish adults under the age of 30 reported that they live in households in which at least one child or adult is Black, Hispanic, Asian, some other non-White race or ethnicity, or identify as multiracial.
U.S. Jews are less “religious” than American adults overall. 12% responded that they attend religious services at least weekly in a synagogue, temple or less formal setting This compares to 27% of all U.S. adults.
When asked if religion is “very important” to them, 41% of non Jewish U.S. residents said Yes. 21% of U.S Jews said Yes. Therefore, one can say that U.S. Jews are less likely than the overall U.S. public to say religion is “very important” to them (21% vs. 41%). Slightly more than 50% of U.S. Jews say religion is “not too” or “not at all important” in their lives. About 34% of other Americans say the same. 26% of U.S. Jewish responded that they believe in God “as described in the Bible,” while 56% of all U.S. adults say this.
Jewish Americans favor the Democratic Party, but Orthodox Jews do not.
The survey, conducted before November 2020, found that 71% of Jewish adults (including 80% of Jews who identify of Reform Jews) are Democrats or independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. But among Orthodox Jews, 75% responded that they are Republicans or lean toward the GOP. In 2013, only 57% of Orthodox Jews were Republicans or Republican leaners (but at the Passover seder, they lean more).
Over 80% of Jewish Republicans responded that President Trump was friendly towards both Israel and Jews.
While 55% of Jewish Democrats responded that President Trump was friendly towards Israel, only 13% thought he was friendly towards Jews.
85% of Orthodox Jews responded that Trump’s policies towards Israel were “Excellent or Good.” 42% of Conservative movement Jews and 36% of Reform Jews agreed with that statement.
About half of American Jews under 30 years of age thought Trump’s policies towards Israel were “Poor.”
75% of American Jews believe there is more anti-Semitism in the United States today than there was five years ago.
53% replied that as a Jewish person, they personally feel less safe than they did five years ago.
But even though they feel less safe, very few said that they hesitated to participate in Jewish observances or events because of security concerns.
Respondents who wear a kippah and something that identifies them as Jewish were slightly more likely to feel less safe than they did five years ago
- Despite these experiences with anti-Semitism, Jewish Americans tend to say that there is as much
– or more – discrimination in U.S. society against several other groups, including Muslim, Black,
Hispanic, and LGBTQIA Americans, as there is against Jews.
82% say caring about Israel is either “essential” or “important” to what being Jewish means to them.
58% say they are at least somewhat attached to Israel
79% of those who have been to Israel are especially likely to feel this way
29% of Jewish Democrats and Democratic leaners say the U.S. was too supportive of Israel
5% of Jewish Republicans and GOP leaners say the U.S. was too supportive of Israel
63% of Jewish Americans say they think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully.
32% of American Jews agreed that God gave the land that is now Israel to Jews, as per the Bible.
27% of American Jews under 30 oppose BDS. 44% of American Jewish over age 65 oppose BDS.
35% of American Jews under 30 view caring about Israel as essential to their religion. 52% of American Jewish over age 65 felt the same way.
72% of U.S. Jews engage in cultural activities like cooking Jewish food
62% reported that they share holidays with non-Jewish friends
57% reported that they visit historical Jewish sites
44% said that engage with Judaism through Jewish media by “often” or “sometimes” reading Jewish literature, history or biographies
43% said that they watching television with Jewish or Israeli themes (not including Seinfeld)
42% said that the read Jewish news in print or online
Among younger Jewish adults (ages 18-29),
17% identify as Orthodox (compared to 3% for those over 65)
41% don’t identify with any branch, of consider themselves “Jews of no religion” – but are Jewish culturally, ethnically or because of their family background.
The Reform and Conservative movements, American Judaism’s largest branches, seem to be losing ground with younger generations.
29% of those surveyed identify as Reform (compared to 44% of those over age 65 who responded)
8% identify as part of the Conservative synagogue movement (compared to 25% of those over age 65 who responded)
While 17% identify as Orthodox Jews, fully one-in-ten (11%) of U.S. Jewish adults under the age of 30 are Haredim, or
ultra-Orthodox, compared with 1% of Jews 65 and older.
In terms of separate and unequal and growing more so…
49% of U.S. Orthodox Jews in the U.S. say they have “not much” (23%) or “nothing at all” (26%) in common with Reform Jews
50% of U.S. Reform Jewish say they have “not much” (39%) or “nothing at all” (21%) in common with Orthodox Jews, not even a desire for a blintz.
9% of Orthodox Jews feel they have “a lot” in common with Reform Jews
Reform and Orthodox Jews are more likely to express feelings of commonality toward “Jews in Israel” than toward other U.S. Jews.
42% of U.S. Jews who are married have a non-Jewish spouse
Only 2% of Jews identifying as Orthodox said their spouse in not Jewish (of course, they probably would join another branch if they intermarried)
47% of non Orthodox Jews who are married say their spouse is not Jewish
Intermarriage is more common among those who have married since 2010.
Among Jewish respondents who got married since the beginning of 2010, 61% have a non-Jewish spouse
Among Jewish respondents who married before 1980, 18% have a non-Jewish spouse
Among married Jews who say they have one Jewish parent, 82% have a non-Jewish spouse
Among married Jews who say they have two Jewish parents, 34% have a non-Jewish spouse
Among married respondents with a Jewish spouse, about 97% were raising minor children as Jewish
Among married respondents with a non-Jewish spouse, about 69% were raising minor children as Jewish
Regarding synagogue/temple/shul attendance…
Of the 20% of American Jews who say they attend synagogue services (before the pandemic) AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH,
92% said that they “find it spiritually meaningful”
87% said “Because I feel a sense of belonging”
83% said “To feel connected to my ancestry or history”
65% said they feel a religious obligation (87% of Orthodox Jews responded to this)
42% said in order to please a spouse
22% said out of guilt
Of the 80% of respondents who said they do NOT attend often
67% said “I’m not religious”
57% said “I’m just not interested”
55% said that they “express my Jewishness in other ways”
7% said that “I don’t feel welcome”
4% said “People treat me like I don’t really belong.”
10% of respondents under age 30” said money (cost) was an issue (“it costs too much”), while 19% of older adults said money was an issue
Producers of Jewish film festivals, take notice…
only 10% of non observant respondents said they often or sometimes seek out Jewish film festivals or films
38% of actively observant Jews said they do
As for Chabad…
5% of respondents of low observance said they often or sometimes participated in a Chabad activity
39% of respondents reporting high levels of observance said they often or sometimes participated in a Chabad event
For those who say Jewish festivals substitute for synagogue attendance… the data did not show it
The median age of an American Jew is 49 (think Sacha Baron Cohen or Noah Wyle, or a couple years under Mayim Bialik)
The median age of an Orthodox Jew is 35 (think Josh Peck or Drake or Lena Dunham)
The median age of a Conservative movement Jew is … 62 (think Jason Alexander)