The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America

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By contrast, among Jews in the youngest generation of U. This shift in Jewish self-identification reflects broader changes in the U. Americans as a whole — not just Jews — increasingly eschew any religious affiliation. Indeed, the share of U.

Secularism has a long tradition in Jewish life in America, and most U. Compared with Jews by religion, however, Jews of no religion also commonly called secular or cultural Jews are not only less religious but also much less connected to Jewish organizations and much less likely to be raising their children Jewish. In stark contrast, the survey finds that two-thirds of Jews of no religion say they are not raising their children Jewish or partially Jewish — either by religion or aside from religion.

Intermarriage is a related phenomenon. And intermarried Jews, like Jews of no religion, are much less likely to be raising their children in the Jewish faith. Moreover, intermarriage rates seem to have risen substantially over the last five decades. Among Jewish respondents who have gotten married since , nearly six-in-ten have a non-Jewish spouse.


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Among those who got married in the s, roughly four-in-ten have a non-Jewish spouse. It is not clear whether being intermarried tends to make U.


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  • Jews less religious, or being less religious tends to make U. Jews more inclined to intermarry, or some of both. Whatever the causal connection, the survey finds a strong association between secular Jews and religious intermarriage. In some ways, the association seems to be circular or reinforcing, especially when child rearing is added into the picture. Married Jews of no religion are much more likely than married Jews by religion to have non-Jewish spouses.

    Jews who have non-Jewish spouses are much less likely than those married to fellow Jews to be raising children as Jewish by religion and much more likely to be raising children as partially Jewish, Jewish but not by religion, or not Jewish at all. Furthermore, Jews who are the offspring of intermarriages appear, themselves, to be more likely to intermarry than Jews with two Jewish parents.

    The survey also shows that Reform Judaism continues to be the largest Jewish denominational movement in the United States. Though Orthodox Jews constitute the smallest of the three major denominational movements, they are much younger, on average, and tend to have much larger families than the overall Jewish population.

    This suggests that their share of the Jewish population will grow. In the past, high fertility in the U. Orthodox community has been at least partially offset by a low retention rate: Roughly half of the survey respondents who were raised as Orthodox Jews say they are no longer Orthodox. See discussion and table in Chapter 3, Jewish Identity. Within all three denominational movements, most of the switching is in the direction of less-traditional Judaism.

    Much less switching is reported in the opposite direction. Jews, conducted on landlines and cellphones among 3, Jews across the country from Feb. These measures of observance appear to have ticked downward slightly compared with a national telephone survey conducted more than a decade ago, the National Jewish Population Survey. If there has been any decline on these measures, however, it appears to be attributable to the rising number of Jews of no religion; rates of Passover and Yom Kippur observance have remained stable among Jews by religion.

    And intermarried Jews, like Jews of no religion, are much less likely to be raising their children in the Jewish faith. Moreover, intermarriage rates seem to have risen substantially over the last five decades. Among Jewish respondents who have gotten married since , nearly six-in-ten have a non-Jewish spouse. Among those who got married in the s, roughly four-in-ten have a non-Jewish spouse. It is not clear whether being intermarried tends to make U. Jews less religious, or being less religious tends to make U.

    Jews more inclined to intermarry, or some of both. Whatever the causal connection, the survey finds a strong association between secular Jews and religious intermarriage. In some ways, the association seems to be circular or reinforcing, especially when child rearing is added into the picture. Married Jews of no religion are much more likely than married Jews by religion to have non-Jewish spouses. Jews who have non-Jewish spouses are much less likely than those married to fellow Jews to be raising children as Jewish by religion and much more likely to be raising children as partially Jewish, Jewish but not by religion, or not Jewish at all.

    Furthermore, Jews who are the offspring of intermarriages appear, themselves, to be more likely to intermarry than Jews with two Jewish parents.

    The survey also shows that Reform Judaism continues to be the largest Jewish denominational movement in the United States. Though Orthodox Jews constitute the smallest of the three major denominational movements, they are much younger, on average, and tend to have much larger families than the overall Jewish population. This suggests that their share of the Jewish population will grow. In the past, high fertility in the U. Orthodox community has been at least partially offset by a low retention rate: Roughly half of the survey respondents who were raised as Orthodox Jews say they are no longer Orthodox.

    See discussion and table in Chapter 3, Jewish Identity.

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    Within all three denominational movements, most of the switching is in the direction of less-traditional Judaism. Much less switching is reported in the opposite direction. Jews, conducted on landlines and cellphones among 3, Jews across the country from Feb. These measures of observance appear to have ticked downward slightly compared with a national telephone survey conducted more than a decade ago, the National Jewish Population Survey. If there has been any decline on these measures, however, it appears to be attributable to the rising number of Jews of no religion; rates of Passover and Yom Kippur observance have remained stable among Jews by religion.

    Three-quarters of U. Large majorities of U. But observing religious law is not as central to most American Jews. And in a separate but related question, most Jews say a person can be Jewish even if that person works on the Sabbath or does not believe in God. Jews say a person cannot be Jewish if he or she believes Jesus was the messiah.

    By several conventional measures, Jews tend to be less religious than the U. Compared with the overall population, for example, Jews are less likely to say that they attend religious services weekly or that they believe in God with absolute certainty. Orthodox Jews are a clear exception in this regard, exhibiting levels of religious commitment that place them among the most religiously committed groups in the country. Too bad the early fathers didn't ban the eglish language. This article is terrific.

    It opened my eyes to American Jewish history and to American history in general. Thank you. I have read in several sources that George Washington had 13 "representatives of faith" at in inaugeral including the Jewish leader Seixus. There was also the family story in Admiral Levy's family that Washington had attended his grandparents'wedding and danced at the festivities. Uriah P. Levy is known for, among other accomplishments, saving and restoring Monticello after Jefferson's death. There is an interesting new book on the subject. It was because the USA was founded on Puritan Protestant rather than Catholic principles that it is a righteous nation and a friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

    These Protestants are close to the spirit of the Tanach, and they take seriously the instruction from G-D that he will bless those who bless his people and curse those who curse them. Cromwell was aware of this and that is why he invited the Jews to return to England. Unfortunately England was restored to Anglicanism, which is very close to Popery, and that is why England once again became hostile to the Jews, evidenced by their attempts to make sure the restored Israel would be stillborn and their turning back of millions of Jews to Hitler's infernos.

    As well as the hatred and venom directed against Israel today by most British opinion makers. He and his father, Jacob Salvador, owned land in the 96 District and he arrieved in Charlest in from London to make use of the land. He was also the first Jew elected by a Christian majority in history and served on several extra-legal bodies leading up to the war. Finally, not only was Francis Salvador the first Jewish and otherwise casulity in South Carolina, but he was also the first Jewish casulity in the United States.

    Not much of a claim to fame, I know, but we get so few accolades in here that we repectfully request you not take away the ones we have. I have recently found out about two years ago the one of my ancesters arrived from Germany in and apparently was Jewish. The land in Pa. Trenton for a year. Then migrated to Canada. My life has been a spiritual quest and you have added another dimension with your American history.

    Thank You, Shalom Gary Markell. Some of our most basic governmental structures are borrowed directly from their example. An interesting side note: Benjamin Franklin liked to hang out at the local synagogue-- he felt it was the only place he could have a decent, intelligent debate, especially about religious and ethical matters. Thomas Jefferson Rocks! Patterson and Richardson Dougall. The motto first appears on the American 2-cent coin in and not in the early days of the new democracy.

    The book I've referenced may be more than you want to know about the motto. Bob Hilliard Fairfield, New Jersey. I see forword to the next instalments happy Chanukah. Youve done a great service with this series It should be compiled into a booklet and distributred widely, particularly to the unaffiliated. It also might be useful at Hillel chapters throughout the country and for the numerous basic Judaism classes st synagogues Yasher Koach.

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    Aish Academy. At the first assembly of New Haven in , John Davenport clearly stated the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony: "Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to perform to God and men as well as in the government of families and commonwealth as in matters of the Church The motto around the seal read: "Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God.

    Even the basic framework of America clearly reflects the influence of the Bible and power of Jewish ideas in shaping the political development of America. Nowhere is this more evident than in the opening sentences of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Jews and the American Revolution By and the War of Independence, there were an estimated 2, mostly Sephardic Jews men, women and children living in America, yet their contribution to the cause was significant. He sent this letter, dated August 17, "May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in the land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants.

    While everyone shall sit safely under his own vine and fig-tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. And many nations shall come, and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for Torah shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. American Ambivalence Toward The Jews It must be noted, however, that some of the other founding fathers were a bit more ambivalent about the Jews than was Washington.

    Article 55 of 68 in the series Jewish History Previous 54 of Next 56 of Share this article. Try these www. So glad to see an article on the contribution of Jews in early America.

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