A misreading of the study’s findings has implications for Jewish community.
Sylvia Barack Fishman
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video:
After a long wait, the American Jewish community once again has a rich, large national demographic study of American Jewish life to learn from and argue about — the recently released “Portrait of Jewish Americans” published by the Pew Research Center. Based on interviews with 3,475 respondents, the study divides its respondents throughout into “Jews by religion” (78 percent) and “Jews of no religion,” (22 percent), and presents data on the ways these two groups of American Jews are — and are not — connected to things Jewish, as well as their attitudes towards Israel, American leaders and a few political issues.
By now it’s old news: Baby boomers are redefining aging, Jewish boomers are disengaging from community life, and the Jewish community is not well-prepared.
The salient question: Is the Jewish community ready to define our future by creating a just society that reflects Jewish values and respects the aging boomer population? Or will we simply allow the December 2010 Pew Research report, “Boomers Approach Age 65 Glumly,” to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Baby boomers are back in the news — have they ever not been? — with new research and case studies suggesting that the organized Jewish community would be wise to invest more thought and programming into keeping this cohort involved in Jewish life, or risk losing them and their support.