Words of the Week

“In other ways, though, even if he looks like a grandfather to his millennial supporters, he is actually representative of the direction the American Jewish community is headed. In those intervening generations, a majority of American Jews have tried hard to balance their liberalism with an identity that was also connected to tradition and religion, through Reform and Conservative Judaism, and an allegiance to Israel. But a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center suggests that the socialist worldview is winning out. When asked what it means to be Jewish, 69 percent of respondents answered ‘leading an ethical life,’ and 56 percent chose ‘working for justice and equality.’ Only 19 percent said it had to do with ‘observing Jewish law.’ Reflexive support for Israel has also declined.

These trends, which include increasing intermarriage, might eventually mean that the attempt to create a specifically American Jewish identity has largely been abandoned. This could be one more reason the Jewish establishment didn’t greet Mr. Sanders’s historic win in New Hampshire by hoisting him up in a chair like a joyous bar mitzvah boy. They see in him a reflection of these dismal statistics.”

Source: Gal Beckerman, “Bernie Sanders and a First for Jews” (The New York Times)