American Jewish Year Book 2014

Volume 114 of the series American Jewish Year Book pp 71-81


Pew’s Portrait of American Jewry: A Reassessment of the Assimilation Narrative

  • Leonard SaxeAffiliated withContemporary Jewish Studies, Brandeis UniversityCohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies/Steinhardt Social Research Institute, Brandeis University Email author 
  • , Theodore SassonAffiliated withCohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies/Steinhardt Social Research Institute, Brandeis UniversityInternational and Global Studies, Middlebury College
  • , Janet Krasner AronsonAffiliated withCohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

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New analyses by the authors of the Pew Research Center’s, Portrait of Jewish Americans, critically reexamine the prevalent narrative drawn from the report of decline and assimilation in the American Jewish community. Comparisons of the Pew findings to NJPS 1990 and 2000-2001 demonstrate a substantial increase in the US Jewish population and stable levels of belonging to the Jewish people, observance of Jewish ritual, and connection to Israel. The overall population increase is driven primarily by higher-than-expected retention of young adult children of intermarriage, most of whom were raised without Jewish religious identity and disproportionately identify as Jews of no religion. Nonetheless, the engagement of the next generation of adult children of intermarriage is lower than that of other American Jews. Intermarriage, thus, presents both a challenge and an opportunity.


Intermarriage Population Identity