The New York Times has a devastating report on the state of American Jewry based on a new Pew research poll:
The intermarriage rate, a bellwether statistic, has reached a high of 58 percent for all Jews, and 71 percent for non-Orthodox Jews — a huge change from before 1970 when only 17 percent of Jews married outside the faith. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year.
“It’s a very grim portrait of the health of the American Jewish population in terms of their Jewish identification,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York.
The survey, by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, found that despite the declines in religious identity and participation, American Jews say they are proud to be Jewish and have a “strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people.”
While 69 percent say they feel an emotional attachment to Israel, and 40 percent believe that the land that is now Israel was “given to the Jewish people by God,” only 17 percent think that the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security.
If you’re inclined to be an observant Jew, you may have a chance of raising your kids to stay Jewish outside of Israel.
If you’re proud to be Jewish, want your kids to live a Jewish life, but can’t quite commit to being fully observant there is only one option: move to Israel.
American Jews are in deep trouble and the Jewish people will dwindle outside Israel. Only in Israel will my kids receive an appreciation for Jewish traditions and life without forcing them into a more observant life style than the one I was raised in. It’s not certain they’ll marry Jewish but the odds of it happening in Israel are immeasurably higher than in the US or elsewhere in the diaspora.
The picture on the front page of the site is turkey pastrami frying with eggs. I might not keep kosher all the time, but frying bacon at home in Israel is a bit too much for me.