Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash 90
Taglit participants celebrate at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, January 14, 2014.

Younger Jews aren’t as concerned about their descendants being Jewish as was their parents’ generation, according to a Pew Research Center report issued last week (How younger U.S. Jews are similar to – and different from – older U.S. Jews). Jews ages 18 to 29 are less likely than those over 65 to say it’s at least somewhat important that their grandchildren be Jewish (57% vs. 67%) or that it’s at least somewhat important that their grandchildren marry someone who is Jewish (36% vs. 56%).

This may be explained by the fact that only 49% of Jews ages 18 to 29 have two Jewish parents, compared with 89% of Jews 65 and older.


At the same time, while the trend among young adults is to be less religious than the older generation, the youngest Jewish adults in the US are just as religious as their elders, at least on some issues.

For example, 22% of US Jews ages 18 to 29 say they attend religious services at least once a month, as do 22% of those 65 and older. In fact, 76% of younger Jews say they believe in God or some other higher power, compared with 72% of their elders.

And 70% of younger Jews identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with 72% of older Jews.

But 17% of younger Jews are Orthodox, compared with only 3% of older Jews. Still, 41% of younger Jews do not identify with any institutional branch of American Judaism, compared with 22% of older Jews. And only 29% of Jews under 30 identify with the Reform movement, and 8% with the Conservative, compared with about 70% of Jews ages 65 and older who identify with either movement.

Israel is a great divide between the generations, as 48% of Jews ages 18 to 29 are at least somewhat emotionally attached to Israel, compared to 67% of those 65 and older. Only 54% of younger US Jews say they have a lot or some in common with Jews in Israel, compared to 63% of older US Jews.

Fewer younger US Jews—61%—say that remembering the Holocaust is essential to their Jewish identity, compared with 84% of older Jews in America.

Race is a stronger factor in the identification of younger US Jews, 15% of whom identify as Hispanic, Black, Asian, some other non-White race or ethnicity, compared with 3% of Jews who are 65 and older.

Finally, 75% of Jews ages 18 to 29 say they are straight, compared to 96% of Jews 65 and older. At the same time, only 7% say they are gay or lesbian, compared to 1% of their older folks. Also, 13% of younger Jews identify as or bisexual, but only 1% of older Jews.


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