Constructs E-Newsletter

Building Knowledge of Contemporary Jewry

February 2007

Welcome to this special edition of the e-newsletter of Brandeis University's Cohen Center, Steinhardt Social Research Institute, and Fisher-Bernstein Institute.

The Steinhardt Institute announces the release of a report concerning one of its major projects, "Reconsidering the Size and Characteristics of the American Jewish Population: New Estimates of a Larger and More Diverse Community." The study found that the Jewish community in the United States is not only larger than previously believed, but more diverse as well. The application of innovative research methods resulted in a very different narrative about the community than has been offered before. We hope that the report will greatly enhance our understanding of the Jewish community and lead to a productive discussion about its future.

As always, we look forward to your comments.

-Len Saxe, Director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute
-Amy Sales, Director of the Fisher-Bernstein Institute

Reconsidering the Size and Characteristics of the American Jewish Population: New Estimates of a Larger and More Diverse Community

Leonard Saxe, Elizabeth Tighe, Benjamin Phillips, and Charles Kadushin

This report pioneers the use of meta-analysis, synthesizing existing national surveys containing information on Jewish identity to arrive at new and more accurate information regarding the U.S. Jewish population. The findings suggest that the number of Jews is almost 20 percent higher than the most frequently relied upon population study, the National Jewish Population Survey. Using definitions that parallel NJPS' "core Jewish population," the researchers estimated the population as likely greater than 6 million individuals, and possibly as large as 6.4 million. Additionally, the researchers found that the community is comprised of relatively more non-Orthodox individuals than estimated by existing demographic studies. The findings suggest the need for a reconsideration of our understanding of American Jewry: its size, composition and resource requirements.

Read more.

Read preliminary press coverage below.

  • Implications of report findings discussed in
    Adelson gift of $25 million a year provides huge boost to birthright - JTA

    February 7, 2007

  • Shmuel Rosner, chief U.S. correspondent for Haaretz, asks
    What can one do with so many Jews? - Haaretz

  • February 8, 2007

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