Jewish Identity and Identification
Published אוק 23, 2012
Dr. Shlomo Fischer and Prof. Suzanne Last Stone
The Jewish people today is mostly divided into two subpopulations: the Jews of Israel (~43%) and those of North America (~40%). They differ not just in the content of Jewish identity but in its very structure. Jewish identity in the Diaspora consists of voluntary religious and ethnic identification and solidarity. Alternatively, in Israel, while Jewish identity is of core importance, it is largely automatic. Its major implications have to do with language, territory, citizenship, and political membership. Reigning patterns of Jewish identity are now challenged by dissenting conceptions and emerging new forms. In order to make effective policy, decision makers must deepen their understanding of Jewish identity in each of the two main centers and confront the challenge of forming a common language and network to bridge these two disparate conceptions of Jewish identity.