My goals for the work of the Cohen Center and Steinhardt Institute have always been twofold: to be the platform for cutting-edge social scientific research and, at the same time, to be relevant to the concerns of the Jewish community. This issue of Constructs focuses on recent examples of how the work of CMJS researchers fulfills these twin goals.
In a just-published essay in Tablet Magazine, titled ironically by the editors "The Sky is Falling," I discuss our reanalysis of Pew's A Portrait of Jewish Americans. In contrast to the headlines frequently associated with the report's release, I discuss our finding that the Jewish population is larger and more Jewishly engaged than typically believed. The essay builds on research I reported with Ted Sasson and Janet Aronson in a newly published chapter in the American Jewish Yearbook 2014.
In addition to our own publications, the work of CMJS researchers has been featured in a number of reports by journalists. See our "In the News" section (sidebar), for Matthew Boxer's take on the difficulties small towns face in attracting Jewish millennials. Several of our faculty affiliates have also appeared in the media recently. Professor Sylvia Barack Fishman was recently profiled in the Times of Israel, where she discusses the "success story" of Modern Orthodox Judaism and its relationship to feminism. Keren McGinity, who was a visiting scholar at the Center during 2012-13, has just published the book that she worked on during her time here. In Marrying out: Jewish men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood, McGinity challenges the notion that Jewish men who intermarry are not committed to Judaism or raising Jewish children.
Later this month, at the annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, a dozen CMJS researchers, along with several graduate student staffers, will be presenting their work. The list of presentations below gives a sense of the breadth of the research being done at the Center.
I am just returning from a two week visit "Down Under" (Australia). I gave a series of lectures and presentations in Sydney and Melbourne, but also dove the Great Barrier Reef. More about my observations of the Australian Jewish community in a future Constructs.
The sky is falling, The sky is falling
A reanalysis of last year's important Pew Study contradicts persistent alarmism about 'vanishing' American Jewry
Fifty years ago, Look magazine----the second most widely circulated magazine in America at the time----featured a cover story, "The Vanishing American Jew." The headline screamed "[n]ew studies reveal loss of Jewish identity, soaring rate of intermarriage," and readers were told "Judaism may be losing 70 percent of children born to mixed couples." The now iconic title and headlines notwithstanding, buried in the story was that membership in Jewish congregations and enrollment in Jewish religious schools had reached record levels. But the narrative was unequivocally bleak. A half century later, dire forecasts are again front and center. The release last year of the Pew Research Center's A Portrait of Jewish Americans has unleashed a tsunami of doom and gloom punditry. With headlines that could have been cut and pasted from "The Vanishing American Jew," shrill warnings about the dangers of intermarriage and the decline of non-Orthodox forms of Judaism have given rise to a refreshed narrative of a dismal Jewish future. But it is a distorted story.
Continue reading in Tablet Magazine
CMJS at Association for Jewish Studies
Sunday, December 14, 9:30-11:00 am
PANEL: WHITHER JEWISH COLLEGE STUDENTS?
The Jewish "Talented Tenth": The Jewish Identities of Undergraduates at Elite Institutions
Matthew E. Boxer, research scientist; Fern Chertok, research scientist
Monday, December 15, 8:30-10:00 am
PANEL: THE VARIETIES & IDEOLOGIES OF AMERICAN ORTHODOXY
Programming for Professionals: The Organization of Orthodox Outreach in America
Ariel Stein, research specialist
PANEL: AMERICANS, ONLY MORE SO?: A NEW LOOK AT AMERICAN JEWISH DISTINCTIVENESS
"I'm Not White, I'm Jewish": Patterns of American Jewish distinctiveness Over Time
Shira Fishman, research scientist; Daniel Parmer, research associate
Monday, December 15, 10:00-11:30 am
PANEL: JEWISH STUDIES AND DIGITAL HUMANITIES WORKSHOP
American Jewish Population Project
David Manchester, graduate research associate
Monday, December 15, 3:00-4:30 pm
PANEL: AMERICAN JEWRY IN LIGHT OF THE PEW SURVEY: DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGES, POLICY IMPLICATIONS
Are American Jews Assimilating? Reassessment of the 2013 Pew Survey
Theodore Sasson, research scientist; Leonard Saxe, director CMJS/SSRI
Tuesday, December 16, 10:15-11:45 am
PANEL: JEWISH IDENTITIES - INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES
Judaism is Not a Religion
Charles Kadushin, distinguished scholar
The American Jewish Population Project
In conjunction with American Jewish Population Estimates: 2012, SSRI has developed the American Jewish Population Project, an innovative effort to map the Jewish population in the United States. This project is intended to allow comparative analyses nationally and locally, as well as over time.
Visit the interactive map and learn about AJPP.
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In the News
The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Tablet magazine, December 3, 2014
When a nice Jewish boy marries out, The Forward,
November 19, 2014
Modern Orthodoxy: A model for the great American Jewish dream?, Times of Israel, November 12, 2014
The Hillary-Jeb gap in support for Protective Edge (and more notes about the 2014 Jewish vote), Jewish Journal, November 6, 2014
Jews in Middle America fret about attracting Millennials, USA Today, November 3, 2014
It's official: Taglit-Birthright is a Jewish matchmaker, Jewish Journal, September 8, 2014
, a CMJS signature project, collects and provides census-like information about Jewish educational programs in North America.
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