Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 5–27 | Cite as

The Structure of Political Divisions Among American Jews

  • Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz


This paper examines the current structural basis of political divisions among American Jews. Theoretically, the paper is situated in the well-established scholarly tradition of understanding political behavior as rooted in social structural location, with accompanying variations in political cohesion and political division across social groups. Empirically, the paper utilizes data from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Survey of US Jews to measure and analyze how social divisions based on religion, immigrant status, age, education, income, gender, marital status, region and race are translated into political divisions with respect to both US and Israeli politics. The findings show that religious divisions among American Jews yield the most significant and consistent political divisions across the US and Israeli political measures. Other social cleavages among American Jews also produce political divisions, but to a smaller and less consistent extent than religion.


Social divisions Political divisions American Jews Religion 



Empirical findings from this analysis were first presented at a session on American Jewish politics at the 46th Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Studies, December 14, 2014, Baltimore, MD. I thank Larry Sternberg, Steven M. Cohen and three anonymous reviewers for their critical review and helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper, and Clem Brooks for guidance on methodological issues. I alone retain responsibility for the analysis and interpretation presented here.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Jewish Federations of North AmericaNew YorkUS

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