The Challenges and Opportunities of Jewish Engagement

Some additional take-aways from the newly released Jewish Community Study of New York:

  • More than half of all Jews feel that being Jewish is very important, give to Jewish charity, attend a Passover seder, light Chanukah candles, and fast on Yom Kippur.
  • Overall, measures of Jewish engagement are lower than they were a decade ago for Jews who are not Orthodox.
  • Less-engaged Jews are relatively engaged in Jewish activities that one can perform independently of institutions: having Jewish friends, marking Passover and Chanukah, attending Jewish cultural events, and talking about Jewish matters with Jewish friends.
  • From 1991 to 2011, the proportion of nondenominational and no-religion households more than doubled, from 15 percent to 37 percent of all Jewish households.

Intensification of Jewish education is deepening for most of the community.

  • Nearly half of those ages 18 to 34 went to day school, compared with just 16 percent of those ages 55 to 69.
  • In contrast, levels of Jewish education have been low and falling for the nondenominational population: 54 percent of nondenominational respondents ages 55 to 69 received no Jewish education whatsoever, compared with 70 percent of those ages 18 to 34.

Intermarriage has been stable overall but is increasing among non-Orthodox couples married within the last five years.

  • The intermarriage rate for all married couples remains 22 percent, identical to 2002.
  • By respondent age, intermarriage appears to have stabilized at about 2 in 5 couples for the non-Orthodox; but among all non-Orthodox couples married in the last five years, intermarriage has reached a new high of 50 percent.