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June 9, 2021 2:02 pm
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New Survey Shows Young American Jews as Religious as Their Elders, Less Attached to Israel

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

An Israeli flag and an American flag fly at Abu Dhabi International Airport, before the arrival of Israeli and US officials, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Christoper Pike.

A new study of the American Jewish community found that young American Jews are as religious as their elders and more likely to be Orthodox — while at the same time showing that they largely do not identify with any denomination, and are less attached to Israel and the Jewish people.

The Pew Research Center survey found that, contrary to some trends in the non-Jewish population, Jews aged 18-29 are as likely as Jews over 65 to attend synagogue, believe in God, observe Jewish holidays, and celebrate Shabbat.

Both age groups are also more or less identical politically, with some 70% identifying with the Democratic party.

Other results showed a stark separation between younger and older Jews on certain issues.

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Whereas older Jews tend toward less religious beliefs, a much larger percentage of young Jews are Orthodox. Where only 3% of older Jews identify as Orthodox, 17% of younger Jews do so.

In a divergent trend, however, 41% of young Jews identify with no denomination, as opposed to 22% of older Jews.

In addition, only 37% of younger Jews identify as Reform or Conservative, while some 70% of older Jews do so.

Younger Jews are also less identified with Israel, with 48% saying they are emotionally attached to the Jewish state and 35% saying Israel is essential to their Jewish identity. Among older Jews, the numbers are 67% and 52% respectively.

Fewer younger Jews (39%) say they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, or that Judaism is very important to them (37%). Among older Jews, the numbers are 56% and 46%, respectively.

Jewish continuity remains important to younger Jews, though less than to their elders. 57% of young Jews want their grandchildren to be Jews, as opposed to 67% of older Jews. In addition, only 36% of young Jews feel it would be important for their grandchildren to have a Jewish spouse, while 56% of older Jews do so.

The survey also found that only 49% of young Jews have two Jewish parents, versus 89% of older Jews.

Young Jews are also more diverse than their elders, with 15% identifying as people of color or multi-racial. Only 3% of older Jews did the same.

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