The Israeli-American Council commissioned a study of Israelis living in America. While not surprising, the results are also not reassuring for those who believe Jewish continuity is a value.
The rate of intermarriage for the children of Israelis who are living in America is 17 percent, which is more than double the rate of their parents’ generation, which was eight percent.
The study, titled, “Israelis and Israeli-Americans Living in the United States: Perceptions, Attitudes and Behavior,” surveyed some 1,660 Israelis in 40 U.S. states. It concentrated on two different cohorts of Israelis living in America: those who have lived in the U.S. for less than ten years, and those who have lived in the U.S. for more than ten years.
Midgam, an Israeli polling company, conducted the survey, with assistance from the Israeli government and several Israeli-American organizations.
The survey also provided information about the Israeli-American demographics. The largest segment of this population – 44 percent – are between the ages of 35 – 44, with the second largest – 20 percent – between 16 – 34 years old. Only 11 percent are older than 65, while 15 percent are between the ages of 45 – 64.
Fewer than half of all Israeli-Americans send their children to Jewish day schools, the survey found. There is an increasing -though only slightly – greater chance that children of Israeli-Americans who have been in the U.S. for a longer period of time will not attend day schools.
In terms of denominational affiliation, The Israeli-American Council survey found that of the roughly 50 percent of Israeli-Americans who regularly attend synagogue, 44 percent attend Orthodox synagogues.
For the remaining Israeli-Americans who attend synagogue, membership is roughly evenly divided between Conservative synagogues – 24 percent, and Reform synagogues – 22 percent. However, for those Israelis who have lived in the U.S. for more than ten years, there is a substantial increase in the percentage attending Conservative synagogues – 33 percent, with only 17 percent attending Reform synagogues.
The Israeli-American Council‘s goal is to “organize, activate and engage” the more than half a million Israeli-Americans living throughout the United States.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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