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Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a Time of Fluid Identity

  1. 1990 National Jewish Population Survey. “The fluid character of the American Jewish community is at the heart of the findings.” Profile of American Jewry: Insights from the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, Sidney Goldstein, American Jewish Year Book, 1992
  2. A promising step in this direction was taken in 2015 and 2016 when President Rivlin in cooperation with JPPI held a Tisha b’Av communal study event at the President’s Residence with the participation of representatives from the various Jewish streams in Israel. Energy and vision should be invested in similar efforts.
  3. “All Quiet on the Religious Front?, Jewish Unity, Denominationalism, and Post-denominationalism in the United States”, Jack Wertheimer, American Jewish Committee, 2005. Pages 20, 25.
  4. JPPI Senior Fellows Shmuel Rosner and John Ruskay lead the 2016 Dialogue on “Exploring the Jewish Spectrum in a time of Fluid Identity” and are the authors of this report. Important contributions to this paper were made by JPPI’s Prof. Uzi Rebhun, Dr. Shlomo Fischer, Dr. Einat Wilf and Noah Slepkov. Chaya Ekstein assisted with valuable research and was in charge of coordinating the seminar process, assembling the data and producing the final report. The report was edited by Barry Geltman and Rami Tal.
  5. The survey, conducted by Panels Politics, sampled 1031 individuals. The breakdown of those respondents who self-identified by religious affiliation is as follows: 30.4% secular; 20.8% secular traditional; 22.5% traditional; 4% as liberal religious; 10.3% as religious; and 10.1% as ultra-Orthodox (Haredi). Statistical analysis for the Pluralism Index and the methodological development was led by Professor Steven Popper, a Senior Fellow of the Institute, together with JPPI Senior Fellows: Professor Uzi Rebhun, a demographer; Dr. Shlomo Fischer, a sociologist; Shmuel Rosner; and Noah Slepkov, a Fellow of the Institute. See: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/JPPI%20Pluralism%20Index%20Presentation%20May%208-2016.pdf
  6. The report “Jewish Values and Israel’s Use of Force in Armed Conflict- Perspectives from World Jewry” can be found here: http://jppi.org.il/news/175/58/Jewish-Values-and-Israel-s-Use-of-Force-in-Armed-Conflict–Perspectives-from-World-Jewry/.
  7. The report “Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry” is here: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/jewish_and_democratic-eng.pdf.
  8. Media reports about the 2014 Dialogue can be seen here: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/09-07-14%20Selected%20Press%20Clippings.pdf. Reports about the 2015 Dialogue, here: http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-wartorn-israel-directly-affects-diaspora-jewry-so-wheres-its-voice/?fb_comment_id=915104805226877_915535288517162, here: http://forward.com/opinion/317923/israeli-study-finds-jews-fretful-as-israeli-actions-stir-bias/, and here: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.667542.
  9. The establishment of the State Israel and the fight to free Soviet Jewry are two notable examples of recent great group efforts on the part of the “Jewish people.”
  10. JPPI’s Jewish People Demography, 2015, see: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/JPPI_2014-2015_Annual_Assessment_English-Jewish_People_Demography.pdf
  11. There is a difference we could explore between definitions of belonging to a Jewish group and one’s understanding of the definition of Judaism itself. This paper and the Dialogue focus on the aspect of belonging, and have less emphasis on the way people interpret Judaism – but such interpretation must be in the background for any discussion of belonging.
  12. See: Shmuel Rosner, “Background: Conversion, Between Crisis and Dialogue,” JPPI, 2010, http://jppi.org.il/uploads/rosner_Giyur.pdf, and “Working Group: Conversion, between Crisis and Dialogue,” JPPI, 2011, Moderador: Prof. Suzanne Last Stone, JPPI Facilitator: Shmuel Rosner, http://jppi.org.il/uploads/Conversion%20After%20the%20Dialogue%20and%20the%20Crisis.pdf.
  13. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  14. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  15. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  16. Leeds seminar, March 9, 2016.
  17. A Jew is anyone who was born to a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism, and does not have another religion. See the law for registering citizens, clause 3: http://www.nevo.co.il/law_html/Law01/289_001.htm.
  18. The Israeli Rabbinate accepts a person as Jewish if their mother is proven Jewish or if they underwent orthodox conversion that was approved by the Israeli Rabbinate (regardless of whether a person is considered Jewish by the State of Israel). For more details see: http://www.rabanut.gov.il/vf/ib_items/523/לנישואין%20רישום%20נהלי.pdf
  19. In a report she submitted to the Minister of Justice, entitled “Constitutional Anchoring of Israel’s Vision”, Prof. Ruth Gavison wrote: “The contexts of registration, the Law of Return, personal status and other matters are all mixed into the issue of ‘Who is a Jew.'” For an English translation of Gavison’s report: http://media.wix.com/ugd/ebbe78_0ec5bffcec764721bd2aa1b3e5df8715.pdf.
  20. Pew chose to include a wide range of definitions, enabling different readers to include those they see as Jewish. The “net Jewish population” includes those who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion as well as those who say they have no religion but have a Jewish parent or were raised as Jewish and still consider themselves Jewish in some way. See: Portrait of American Jewry, Pew, 2013: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/sidebar-who-is-a-jew/.
  21. “Israel’s Religiously Divided Society”, PEW, March 2016.
  22. Elizabeth Tighe Raquel Kramer Leonard Saxe Daniel Parmer Ryan Victor, “Recoding of Jews in the Pew Portrait of Jewish Americans,” Brandeis University, July 9, 2014.
  23. See, for example: “What is Your Synagogue’s Policy on Opening the Ark?,” InterfaithFamily, 2014, http://www.interfaithfamily.com/spirituality/synagogue/What_is_Your_Synagogues_Policy_on_Opening_the_Ark.shtml.
  24. See: Dr David Graham, “The Jewish Population of Australia, Key Findings from the 2011 Census,” JCA, page 17. It should be noted that the study also counts households of intermarried couples in another section of the study.
  25. Pew’s 2013 survey of U.S. Jews, page 25.
  26. See: “Jews in the United Kingdom in 2013,” JPR, page 41.
  27. See: “Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011,” UJA-Federation of New York, page 253.
  28. Ein Prat, Israel seminar, December 31, 2015. Notes by Inbal Hakman
  29. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  30. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  31. Prof. Ruth Gavison offers a detailed description of the process in her paper: “60 Years to the Law of Return: History, Ideology, Justification,” Metzila Center, 2009 [Hebrew].
  32. See resolution adopted by the CCAR: “The Status of Children of Mixed Marriages,” 1983. http://ccarnet.org/rabbis-speak/resolutions/1983/status-of-children-of-mixed-marriages-1983/.
  33. Definitions were complicated in the past too – but mostly in the distant past. Fluidity of Jewishness and complexity of definition, the characteristics of the Jewish condition today, characterized the Jewish condition in the days from the Maccabees and the Mishnah, as Shaye J. D. Cohen shows (From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Westminster John Knox Press).
  34. Arthur J. Wolak, “Ezra’s Radical Solution to Judean Assimilation,” Jewish Bible Quarterly, 40: 2, April 2012, pp 93-105.
  35. See for example Shaye J. D. Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties, (California: University of California Press, 1999), Chapter 7: The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony, pp 198 – 238.
  36.  Leeds seminar, March 9, 2016.
  37. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  38. In many Western countries, the percentage of those who affiliate themselves with any particular religion is dropping: in the U.S., a Pew report from 2012 shows that the “religious nones” are on the rise – 20% of all U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, a rise of 15% from 2007. There is also a noticeable generation gap: 32% of millennials are unaffiliated as opposed to 15% of people aged 50-64. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/#growth. Similar trends are apparent in other Western countries: In the 2011 UK census, nearly 25% responded that they have no religion, an increase of 74% from the 2001 census. See http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR_Jews_in_the_UK_in_2013_NJCS_preliminary_findings.Feb.%202014.pdf. This does not necessarily reflect a drop in religion; a vast majority of respondents still said that they ‘believe in god’- it could reflect a change in approach: religion has become more fluid than in the past – as each person can choose which, if any, religion to be affiliated with. See for example Steven M. Cohen, Jacob B. Ukeles, and Ron Miller, “A Special Case of America’s Fluid Boundaries at Work,” Jewish Data Bank, November 2013, and Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How religion Divides and Unites Us, (New York: Simon and Schuster paperbacks, 2012).
  39. See: Roger Bennett, Erin Potts, Rachel Levin, “OMG! How Generation Y is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era,” Reboot, 2005 http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=331.
  40. Dallas March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  41. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  42. Ein Prat, Israel seminar, December 31, 2015. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  43. Obviously, this process did not take place in all countries at the same time, and the 20th century was one in which these boundaries, in certain areas, were dressed in a new, chilling, meaning.
  44. This is markedly true in the U.S. but also, to an extent that depends on time and place, in many other western countries.
  45. The 2013 Pew report shows that 48% of millennial Jews come from intermarried families. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/03/infographic-survey-of-jewish-americans/ See also Professor Leonard Saxe’s interpretation “The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!,” Tablet, December 3, 2014, http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/187165/pew-american-jewry.
  46. According to the 2013 Pew study there are 2.4 million non-Jews of Jewish background in the U.S. http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-1-population-estimates/.
  47. Pew 2013: Only 15% of respondents from the net Jewish population said that Judaism is mainly a religion, and an additional 23% said it is both a religion and ancestry/culture. See: http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/10/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey-overview.pdf.
  48. Pew 2016, page 47.
  49. See: The Israeli Democracy Index, 2014, Tamar Herman et al, The Israel Democracy Institute, page 38.
  50. Pew 2013, page 14.
  51. The quote is from a letter sent to JPPI’s Shmuel Rosner, following the seminar in Baltimore. We quote in this report some letters of this sort that were sent by participants who wanted to add more thoughts that they did not have to express during the discussion.
  52.   Dr. Sylvia Barak-Fishman, “Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism,” JPPI, March 2013. See: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/Fathers%20of%20the%20Faith-%20Three%20Decades%20of%20Patrilineal%20Descent%20in%20American%20Reform%20Judaism.pdf.
  53. Shmuel Rosner, “The Ultimate Conversion,” NYT, July 9, 2013. See: http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/latitude/2013/07/09/the-ultimate-conversion/?referer=.
  54. Hashlama, Israel seminar, February 24, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  55. Jews of no religion (JNR) – are “those who say they have no religion but who were raised Jewish or have a Jewish parent and who still consider themselves Jewish aside from religion” including 1.2 million Jews – 22% of the net Jewish population, 32% of millennial Jews. See Pew, 2013 chapter 1: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-1-population-estimates/
  56. Shlomo Fischer, “Who are the “Jews by Religion” in the Pew Report?,” The Times of Israel, November 2013. “If we are to adopt interventions regarding Jews not by religion, we must realize that moving from a matter of fact, descriptive ethnicity to sacred, normative ethnicity would seem to involve some kind of conversion experience. It is a change in the very essence of one’s Jewishness.” For the full article see: http://jppi.org.il/news/146/58/Who-are-the-%EF%BF%BDJews-by-Religion-%EF%BF%BD-in-the-Pew-Report/.
  57. See: “Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011,” page 37. http://d4ovttrzyow8g.cloudfront.net/196904.pdf.
  58. Pew 2013, chapter 1: 600,000, or roughly half of the Jews of no religion self-identified as “partly Jewish” http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-1-population-estimates/. Although there is less concrete data from other countries, there are many people self-identifying as Jewish to some degree, such as the former-Soviet Jews in Germany. See: http://www.rothschildfoundation.eu/downloads/jpr_germany_english_language.pdf page 9.
  59. At least in the U.S., most partial Jews do not have dual religious identity; they have no religion at all, but consider themselves “partially” Jewish.
  60. Susan Katz-Miller, Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family (Boston: Beacon Press, 2013).
  61. See: Shmuel Rosner, “Most children of intermarriage aren’t told they are exclusively Jewish,” Jewish Journal, October 2015. And also: “Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Touch points and Trajectories of Jewish Engagement,” Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University, 2015.
  62. Some instances of sociological Jewishness can be found in other communities as well. See a series of articles by David Landau, “Special report: Judaism and the Jews,” The Economist, 2012.
  63. ians, other religions or do not have a religion in the Israeli Ministry of Interior. See Netanel Fisher, The Challenge of Conversion to Judaism in Israel: Policy Analysis and Recommendations, (Jerusalem: The Israel Democracy Institute, 2015), p. 42. [Hebrew] http://www.idi.org.il/media/4150085/The_Challenge_of_Conversion_to_Judaism.pdf.
  64. Menachem Lazar of Panels Politics ask Jewish Israelis how would they react had their offspring decided to intermarry. 20% told him that they would “gladly” accept it, 24% would simply “accept”. A small majority of 52% would object or strongly object to such marriage, but the majority of opponents is more religious and older than the significant minority (44%) of accepting Israelis. See: Shmuel Rosner, “How Many Israelis Would Gladly Intermarry? Quite a Few…,” The Jewish Journal, June 2014.
  65. Many Israelis who are secular or traditional and not orthodox do not want to change the legal situation, and would leave matters such as marriage in the hands of the Orthodox Rabbinical establishment. Generally speaking, in Israel there is a well-known phenomenon of the “Secularist Orthodox” – namely people for whom the proper synagogue (to which they rarely go) is an Orthodox one.
  66. The Law of Return does not apply to Jews only, but also to certain relatives of Jews. But there has to be a Jewish connection along the way for a person to be eligible to immigrate to Israel according to the Law of Return – and hence, the argument that the definition of Jewishness has practical meaning for this purpose stands.
  67. For a short discussion of the question “what is Judaism” and the ways to approach it, see: The Jews: Frequently Asked Questions, Shmuel Rosner, from page 13 (Dvir and Beit Hatfutzot, 2016, Hebrew).
  68. The survey asked respondents to rank the categories on a scale of 1-5, and all graphs showing the responses of participants are on a scale of 1-5. However, in order to compare to other surveys, all graphs showing the mean of the responses have been adapted to show the division of responses on a scale of 1-4.
  69. Jews in America (and half of Israel’s Jews) tend to be more secular than members of other religions. “They are secular, in terms of their beliefs & religious participation. About as religious as non-churched Christians” (See: “Does Political Liberalism Undermine Jewish engagement? Implications for Research, Education and American Jews”, Steven Cohen, presentations to Network for Research in Jewish Education).
  70. Philadelphia seminar, April 18, 2016. Notes by LaJonel Brown.
  71. See: JPPI, annual assessment 2015: http://jppi.org.il/uploads/JPPI_2014-2015_Annual_Assessment_English-Jewish_People_Demography.pdf
  72. The pluralism survey asked about religion, ancestry, nationality (but did not had peoplehood attached to it) and culture. It used a 1-4 scale rather than a 1-5 scale.
  73. While the JPPI survey asked participants to rank four options, the Pew report on Israel included three options from which to choose: religion, nationality and culture. The report in English was erroneous in translating the Hebrew word that means “nationality” (in the original question in Hebrew: עניין לאומי) to “ancestry”. In this report we refer to the question as it was asked in Hebrew. The Pew survey of Jewish Americans had religion, culture and ancestry. Thus, exact comparisons between the U.S. and Israel based on the Pew questions is impossible, even though Pew did include such comparison in the report on Israel.
  74. Interestingly, the Dialogue survey shows that “non-denominational” participants ranked “religion” quite high (3.02) in comparison to the Orthodox participants (3.23). Seculars ranked religion as low as Israel’s secular from the Pluralism in Israel survey (2.49, 2.51).
  75. The gaps between the categories are not always very wide, but this is partially a result of the way the question was framed. Each participant ranked each category on the scale, and since few participants would rank any of the components as a 0 or a 1 the result is a scale in which all categories amount to something. The above Pew graph is an example of what happens when Jews are asked to choose between categories, rather than rank all categories. In such case, the gaps are much more pronounced.
  76. Only about half the Orthodox ranked it a 4 or a 5 (out of 5).
  77. Pittsburgh seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  78. When comparing the percentage of participants that ranked each of the activities at 4 or 5 (on a 1-5 scale).
  79. “Israel’s Religiously Divided Society”, Pew 2016, page 62.
  80. The number of times non-Israeli Dialogue participants traveled to Israel compared to average Jews is telling. For the numbers, see the appendix.
  81. Washington JPPI seminar, April 11, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  82. See: Sasson, Theodore, Charles Kadushin, and Leonard Saxe, “Trends in American Jewish Attachment to Israel: An Assessment of the ‘‘Distancing’’ Hypothesis”, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University, 2010. Also see: “The Challenge of Peoplehood: Strengthening the Attachment of Young American Jews to Israel in the Time of the Distancing Discourse”, Shmuel Rosner and Inbal Hackman, JPPI, 2011.
  83. Salvador seminar, March 29, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  84. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  85. Shnat Netzer seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  86. Bina seminar, December 16, 2015. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  87. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  88. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  89. The quote from a summary by JPPI’s Chaya Ekstein based on report from Cleveland, Miami, Detroit, Portland, St. Louis.
  90. Masa seminar, February 2, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  91. Ein Prat, Israel seminar, December 31, 2015. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  92. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  93. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  94. Counting both 13.91% for “active” and 14.63% for “combination”.
  95. PEW 2013 found that “90% of Jews by religion who are currently raising minor children in their home say they are raising those children Jewish or partially 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”. It also found that “Jews of no religion have grown as a share of the Jewish population and the overall U.S. public”.
  96.   See: Who are the “Jews by Religion” in the Pew Report?, Shlomo Fischer, JPPI, 2013.
  97. See: ‘Jews Not by Religion’: How to Respond to American Jewry’s New Challenge Shmuel Rosner, JPPI, 2013.
  98. St. Louis seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Cyndee Levy.
  99. NSW Australia Seminar, March 31, 2016. Notes by Teneille Murray.
  100. Melbourne seminar, March 21, 2016. Notes by Eileen Freed.
  101. Born to a Jewish mother can reflect both “belief” and “ancestry” – as in the case of Orthodox Jewish halacha the two go hand in hand. The same is true for those who chose “Jewish parent” who might mean both “ancestry” and “belief”. But in these cases case we assume that “Jewish mother” reflects a tendency to consider Orthodox halacha as a main arbiter of Jewishness, while “Jewish parent” reflects an instinctive sense of tribal belonging by family connection and not consciences reliance on “halacha” (but this can be a matter of debate).
  102. Only Reform Judaism refers to a Jewish parent rather than to the mother. Here we make Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism – the two halachic “streams” – into one group.
  103. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. Notes by Gail Greenberg.
  104. Zurich seminar, May 4, 2016. Notes by Guy Spier.
  105. Melbourne seminar, March 21, 2016. Notes by Eileen Freed.
  106. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  107. South Australia Seminar. Notes by Merrilyn Ades
  108. Brazil seminar. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  109. Leeds seminar, March 9, 2016.
  110. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  111. “A Portrait of Israeli Jews Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews”, the Guttman Center for Surveys of the Israel Democracy Institute for The AVI CHAI–Israel Foundation, 2009, page 17.
  112. What explains most of the difference is the nature of the question: in the JPPI Dialogue the participants were asked to make a choice between options, while Guttman-Avichai asked them separately about each choice. Still, the number of Israelis accepting self-definition according to Guttman-Avichai is quite striking compared to the percentage of JPPI participants accepting such norm (4.92% among Israelis).
  113. Shnat Netzer seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  114. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  115. Leeds seminar, March 9, 2016.
  116. Hashlama, Israel seminar, February 24, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  117. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  118. Bina seminar, December 16, 2015. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  119. New York JPPI seminar, April 5, 2016, notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  120. A Portrait of Israeli Jews Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews, page 69. In a 2011 Hiddush survey, a different formulation of the question resulted in 39% who said “only Orthodox” and 32% who said “Conservative and Reform too” (29% said, all conversions, including secular conversion).
    A state, including Israel, has no place in deciding one’s Jewishness
  121. Of course, Israelis have no “local communities” in the same sense that Diaspora Jews have them, and hence it is possible that “Israel” for them has the same meaning of “local community” for other Jews. If that is indeed the case, we ought to consider Israel\local community as the first choice of Israelis – and “rabbis” as the second choice.
  122. See: “What happens when two Jews means two different peoplehoods?”, Times of Israel, March 14, 2016. This report deals with the civil Israeli Ministry of Interior recently released “list of criteria for acceptable non-halachic conversions”. This issue was debated in Israeli courts and among the leadership of Progressive Jewish movements that need to determine whether they want to accept such criteria (both the principle of Israel setting criteria and the detailed criteria).
  123. The quote is of Rabbi Seth Farber, of ITIM, from “What happens when two Jews means two different peoplehoods?” (see previous note).
  124. The question of boundaries and authority tends to appear in times of historical transitions. Some of the debates about the Anusim of Spain (Crypto Jews) and the Sabbateans of the 17th century contain elements from similar questions of authority to define the Jewish boundary.
  125. Prof. Steven Cohen argued: Jews in America “are secular, in terms of their beliefs & religious participation. About as religious as non-churched Christians”. See: Does Political Liberalism Undermine Jewish engagement? Implications for Research, Education and American Jews, Presented at: Network for Research in Jewish Education, June 2016.
  126. Masa seminar, February 2, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  127. Rio de Janeiro seminar, March 29, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  128. Masa seminar, February 2, 2016. Notes by Cody Levin. We are not elaborating on the issue of Diaspora approach to state-religion affairs in Israel, as this was one of the main components of the 2014 Dialogue. See: Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry, JPPI, 2014.
  129. See for example: Yair Ettinger, “Defying Chief Rabbinate, Prominent Rabbis Form Alternative Conversion Court,” Haaretz, August, 10, 2015. On the Trump controversy see: Ivanka Trump’s rabbi and the state of relations between Israel and American Jews, The Telegraph, July 2016.
  130. Queensland Australia seminar, March 30, 2016. Notes by Avi Michaeli.
  131. nent of Judaism. Synagogue membership is declining among Jews (except for Orthodox Jews), because of “the effects of growing secularization, declining affection for institutions, a dispersal of Jewish philanthropy and an end to the era in which membership in a congregation was seen as a social obligation” (The ‘Pay What You Want’ Experiment at Synagogues, Michael Paulson, New York Times, February 2, 2015). According to the Pew Research Center, “roughly one-third of Jews (31%) say they belong to a synagogue” (A Portrait of Jewish Americans, page 60).
  132. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  133. Israeli participants by affiliation. For full affiliation
    details in all countries, see appendix B.
  134. It should be noted that the Orthodox criteria is not “stricter” in all ways. An Orthodox acceptance of a person born to a Jewish mother is in some way laxer than other denominations demands for Jewish upbringing or participation.
  135. Dallas seminar, March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  136. See, for example: “Reform Jews Cannot Be Called Jews, Says Israel’s Religious Services Minister”, Haaretz, July 7, 2015. Minister Azoulai’s remarks, and similar remarks by other politicians, were disavowed on more than one occasion by Israel’s Prime Minister. See: “Netanyahu: Wholesale attacks on Reform Jews ‘unacceptable’”, JTA, March 24, 2016.
  137. Baltimore JPPI seminar, April 11, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  138. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  139. Agree in the graph includes those who responded “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree”, and disagree in the graph includes all those who responded “strongly disagree” or “somewhat disagree”.
  140. See: “A Portrait of Israeli Jews Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews”, page 69. As in many of these things, Israeli positions on this matter are somewhat confused. While a small majority of Jewish Israelis do not accept non-Orthodox conversion, a majority of them (61%) “agree” or “totally agree” that “the Conservative and Reform movements should have equal status in Israel with the Orthodox”.
  141. For details about the Pluralism survey, see comment number 5.
  142. Shnat Netzer seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  143. Dallas JPPI seminar of non-Orthodox rabbis. March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  144. Chicago JPPI seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  145. To read a blunt example: “Reform Jews should declare themselves a different religion than bigoted forms of Ultra-Orthodoxy”, an article by Prof Carlo Strenger, Huffington Post, March 29, 2016. Strenger writes: “I therefore suggest a different strategy for non-orthodox Jews in the United States: simply declare the Orthodox establishment as irrelevant for your religion”.
  146. Salvador seminar, March 29, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  147. Melbourne seminar, March 21, 2016. Notes by Eileen Freed.
  148. Philadelphia seminar, April 18, 2016. Notes by LaJonel Brown.
  149. See: “Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”, a Special Report by JPPI, 2014.
  150. See: “Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”, JPPI, 2014, page 75.
  151. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  152. See: “Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”, JPPI, 2014, page 70.
  153. Bina seminar, December 16, 2015. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  154. Chicago JPPI seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  155. Philadelphia seminar, April 18, 2016. Notes by LaJonel Brown.
  156. ” Israel’s Religiously Divided Society”, PEW 2016.
  157. On a 1-4 scale “Jews Living in the Diaspora” were 2.93, more than “north Tel Avivians”, “settlers”, “Reform Jews”, “Yeshiva students” and more.
  158. See: “Jewish Values and Israel’s Use of Force in Armed Conflict: Perspectives from World Jewry”, A Special Report by the Jewish People Policy Institute, Shmuel Rosner, Michael Herzog, page 48.
  159. See: “A Portrait of Israeli Jews Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews”, page 72.
  160. Interestingly, Brazilians have a problem with Israel’s definitions even less than Israelis themselves. Just 5% of them totally agreed with the statement, and 21% “agreed” (compared to 31% of Americans).
  161.   See: “Jewish Values and Israel’s Use of Force in Armed Conflict: Perspectives from World Jewry”, page 43.
  162. For the full question, see the survey in appendix D. The full table of responses by country, Comb. Is the percent of people who chose more than one response, and n/a is those who did not respond to this question.

    A

    B

    C

    D

    Comb.

    n/a

    Australia

    2.41%

    20.48%

    48.19%

    15.66%

    8.43%

    4.82%

    Brazil

    2.17%

    23.91%

    41.30%

    22.83%

    4.35%

    5.43%

    Israel

    9.84%

    14.75%

    37.70%

    26.23%

    4.92%

    6.56%

    U.S.

    5.52%

    13.56%

    48.05%

    17.47%

    10.11%

    5.29%

    Rest

    6.98%

    9.30%

    58.14%

    16.28%

    4.65%

    4.65%

  163. See: “Jewish Values and Israel’s Use of Force in Armed Conflict: Perspectives from World Jewry”, page 48. And: “Half of Israelis: Allow Reform Jews to Marry and Convert,” Zvika Klein, NRG, June 2014.
  164. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  165. See: “Jews in couples: Marriage, intermarriage, cohabitation and divorce in Britain”, David Graham, 2016.
  166. “World Jewish Population”, 2013 Sergio DellaPergola.
  167. 2011 National Household Survey Analysis “The Jewish Population of Canada”, Charles Shahar, Randal Schnoor.
  168. See: “What happens when Jews intermarry?”, Gregory Smith, Alan Cooperman, Pew, November 2013, and: “Pew’s Portrait of American Jewry: A Reassessment of the Assimilation Narrative”, Leonard Saxe, Theodore Sasson, Janet Krasner Aronson.
  169. See: “The Pew Survey Reanalyzed: More Bad News, but a Glimmer of Hope”, Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen, Mosaic, 2014.
  170. Bina seminar, December 16, 2015. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  171. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. From notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  172. JPPI seminar in Pittsburgh, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner. In Pittsburgh, according to the 2002 community study, about a third of all marriages are intermarriages. See: “The 2002 Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study”.
  173. Dallas March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  174. “Millennial Children of Intermarriage: Touchpoints and Trajectories of Jewish Engagement”, Theodore Sasson, Leonard Saxe, Fern Chertok, Michelle Shain, Shahar Hecht, Graham Wright, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, 2015.
  175. See, for example: “Millennial Children of Intermarriage”, Sasson, Saxe, Chertok, Shain, Hecht, Wright, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, 2015. See also: “Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israe”l, Dov Waxman, page 202.
  176. An interesting comment concerning this issue was made by Philologos in writing about the term “Jews by choice”. “A Judaism without ethnicity can hardly be called Judaism—and yet it is the kind of Judaism that will spread in an America in which being Jewish by choice and Jewish by birth are thought of as two different versions of the same thing. Jewishness can be a deliberate choice for non-Jews only so long as it is as a welcomed chosenness for born Jews”. See: The False Ideas in the Phrase “Jew by Choice”, Philologos, Mosaic Magazine, July 2016.
  177. See: “Most children of intermarriage aren’t told they are exclusively Jewish”, Shmuel Rosner, 2015. According to Pew 2013 “300,000 children who are being raised partly Jewish and partly in another religion” in the U.S..
  178. For the legal meaning of “not a member of another religion” see Israel’s high court decision Beresford vs. State of Israel.
  179. From a summary of reports from Cleveland, Miami, Detroit, Portland, St. louis, by Chaya Ekstein.
  180. Hashlama, Israel seminar, February 24, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  181. NSW Australia Seminar, March 31, 2016. Notes by Teneille Murray.
  182. The options were: No need – it is good to have a variety of options; Yes – there is such need, because otherwise the Jews would not be “a people”; Only the State of Israel needs a definition; One definition for Israel and another for the Jewish Diaspora.
  183. In Brazil, 50% said no need for understanding, and 40% said there is such need.
  184. Zurich seminar, May 4, 2016. Notes by Guy Spier.
  185. Pittsburgh seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  186. NSW Australia Seminar, March 31, 2016. Notes by Teneille Murray.
  187. Bina seminar, December 16, 2015. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  188. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  189. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  190. Baltimore JPPI seminar, April 11, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  191. Zurich seminar, May 4, 2016. Notes by Guy Spier.
  192. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  193. UK seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by David Walsh.
  194. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. From notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  195. Dallas March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  196. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  197. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  198. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  199. Hashlama, Israel seminar, February 24, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  200. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  201. Rio de Janeiro seminar, March 29, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  202. Hashlama, Israel seminar, February 24, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  203. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  204. Jewish and Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry, JPPI, 2014.
  205. For history of the law see Gavison: 60 Years to the Law of Return: History, Ideology, Justification,” Metzila Center, 2009.
  206. t time a definition of “Jew” was established in Israeli law: “person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion”. The amendment also extended eligibility for immigration to Israel to include the child and the grandchild of a Jewish person, the spouse of a Jew, and the spouse of the child or grandchild. As Gavison noted: “The combined result was that the law narrowly defines, in almost halachic terms, ‘a Jew,’ but grants eligibility to Aliyah to many who are not Jews by this definition and who may not even have any connection to the aspirations of the Jewish people to realize their right to self-determination in Israel” (see: “The Law of Return at Sixty Years: History, Ideology, Justification”, Ruth Gavison, page 67).
  207. Ein Prat, Israel seminar, December 31, 2015. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  208. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  209. Miami seminar, March 3, 2016. Notes by Michelle Labgold.
  210. São Paulo seminar, March 16, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  211. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  212. Interestingly, even among the Orthodox there was no majority in support of a “Jewish mother” and halachic conversion as the criteria for the Law of Return. About 44% of the Orthodox participants chose this option, with 23% choosing “Jewish parent” and the rest choosing one of the other options.
  213. Palm Beach seminar, March 10, 2016. Notes by Patrice Gilbert and Josephine Gon.
  214. Chicago JPPI seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  215. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  216. Both quotes: Washington JPPI seminar, notes by Shmuel Rosner, April 11, 2016.
  217. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. Notes by Melanie Rivkin.
  218. Dallas seminar, March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  219. NSW Australia Seminar, March 31, 2016. Notes by Teneille Murray.
  220. Portland seminar, April 18-19, 2016. Notes by Laura Renner Satushek and Caron Rothstein.
  221. Palm Beach seminar, March 10, 2016. Notes by Patrice Gilbert and Josephine Gon.
  222. UK seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by David Walsh.
  223. Cleveland seminar, March 14, 2016.
  224. Atlanta seminar, April 8, 2016. Notes by Aaron Levi.
  225. See:” 7 Reconstructionist Rabbis Quit as Synagogues Debate Intermarried Rabbis”, Nathan Guttman, The Forward, Jan. 2016.
  226. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  227. Miami seminar, March 3, 2016. Notes by Michelle Labgold.
  228. Melbourne seminar, March 21, 2016. Notes by Eileen Freed.
  229. Washington JPPI seminar, April 11, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner, Dallas March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  230. Chicago seminar, April 4, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  231. See: Pew 2013, page 67.
  232. São Paulo seminar, March 16, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  233. Detroit seminar, March 9, 2016. Notes by Barrett Harr.
  234. Boston seminar, April 19, 2016. Notes by Alex Thompson.
  235. Salvador seminar, April 11, 2016. Notes by Dr. Alberto Milkewitz.
  236. Masa seminar, February 2, 2016. Notes by Chaya Ekstein.
  237. Dallas March 8, 2016. Notes by Shmuel Rosner.
  238. Ein Prat, Israel seminar, December 31, 2015. Notes by Inbal Hakman.
  239. South Australia Seminar, Notes by Merrilyn Ades.
  240. Comparison is possible mainly with regard to American Jewry, since the number of participants from the U.S. is relatively significant and the information for comparison is accessible.
  241. Studies of this type are often biased, to a certain extent, towards the core community. For example, we can note the following warning from a study by the JPR conducted among Jews in Great Britain: “It is reasonable, however to suspect that the community involved may be over-represented. Because the survey utilized membership and subscriber lists held by the Jewish community as a first port of call (followed by referrals made by people on these lists), those Jews on the community lists may have had a larger, albeit unknown, probability of inclusion in the sample.” (http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/Perceptions_and_experiences_of_antisemitism_among_Jews_in_UK.pdf)
  242. The most prominent example of these characteristics appeared quite clearly in the PEW Report of American Jewry, where an effective distinction was made between Jews by religion, and Jews not by religion. See, “Who are the ‘Jews by Religion’ in the Pew Report?” Shlomo Fischer, The Times of Israel, December 13, 2013.
  243. The average number of visits to Israel by participants in the Jewish People Policy Institute seminars is 5 (this year – in last year’s Dialogue it was 3). By way of comparison, the PEW study on Jews in America found that around 43% of respondents had been to Israel, including 23% who visited Israel more than one time (Chapter 5 of the PEW Report).
  244. “Identificational shifts among the younger generation – from ethnic to cultural, from community-oriented to individualistic and customized – as well as the turning away from mainstream Jewish organizations toward alternatives may be, in part, a manifestation of the transition to a network society”. See: “Jewish Identity and Identification: New Patterns, Meanings, and Networks”, Shlomo Fischer and Suzanne Last Stone, JPPI, 2012.
  245. Naturally, there is a built-in bias in these groups of participants: These are young people who have chosen to spend time in Israel, and many of them feel very connected to Judaism and to Israel.
  246. There is a geographic bias we ought to note: in North America the percentage of young participants in slightly lower than their percentage in the North American Jewish community.
  247. However, as we wrote last year “the percentage of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the world is relatively small, so that even if we know that they have very different outlooks from those of most Jews on numerous subjects, the absence of ultra-Orthodox representatives from the discussion, while unfortunate, apparently does not lead to a misunderstanding of the general outlook within the Jewish world.”
  248. See: DellaPergola, Sergio, “Jewish demographic policies, population trends and options in Israel and in the Diaspora,” JPPI, 2011.
  249. The number of participants is based on the number of surveys respondents. The total number of participants who took part in the Dialogue discussions is slightly higher, as not every participant filled out and returned the survey.
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