New York, NY (PRWEB) August 27, 2013
In a poll of 1,874 Jews conducted by Laszlo Strategies for Jerusalem U, of Jews ages 18-29, 45 percent attended a Jewish day school or yeshiva, 56 percent went to Jewish summer camp, 81 percent had a bar/bat mitzvah, 46 percent were involved in a Jewish youth group before college, while 10 percent had not done any of these. Interestingly, older Jews (50+) were far less likely to have participated in many of the same activities, 24 percent attended a Jewish day school or yeshiva, 36 percent went to Jewish summer camp, 58 percent had a bar/bat mitzvah, 43 percent were involved in a Jewish youth group before college, and 23 percent had not done any of these.
Amy Holtz, President of Jerusalem U commented, “We are seeing that Jewish parents are working hard to give their children the Jewish education they may not have gotten for themselves when they were growing up. Clearly it is a high priority.”
Still, while younger Jews show a strong connection to Israel and Judaism, it is at weaker levels than older Jews. Fully 87 percent of Jews polled over the age of 50 strongly agree that “caring about Israel is a very important part of my being Jewish.” Ten percent somewhat agree, 2 percent disagree and 1 percent were not sure. However, Jews ages 18-29 strongly agree at 66 percent, 25 percent somewhat agree, 6 percent disagree and 3 percent were not sure. Just over half of Jews polled over the age of 50 strongly agree and 33 percent somewhat agree that, “North American and Israeli Jews share a common destiny.” Only 37 percent of young Jews (18-29) strongly agree and 39 percent somewhat agree.
Of all of the Jews polled, 94 percent agree that, “Israel is the spiritual center of the Jewish people.” Only 14 percent agree that “If Israel no longer existed it would not greatly impact my life.”
When asked which of four statements was most accurate, “when you think about what Judaism means to you,” fully 65 percent including 54 percent of Jews age 18-29, agree with the statement that, “Judaism is central to my life, to the life I want for my family and it factors in to my daily life and decisions.” Nearly one-third of those 18-29 favored, “Judaism is important but it doesn’t generally impact my daily life, mostly it’s a family and cultural thing for me.” Only 11 percent of these young Jews polled chose, “Judaism is not currently central to my life, but I want it to play a more significant role,” and last at 3 percent was, “I was raised Jewish but frankly it just isn’t that important to me today or in how I see my future.”
The poll was done online and was sent to email addresses associated with Jerusalem U as well as several other Jewish databases. A link to the survey was shared broadly via social media and individuals were encouraged to complete the survey to be entered to win $500 to go to a charity of their choosing. The sample is, therefore, more likely to be of Jews who are somehow engaged in the community rather than in a random sample. However, because the sample size is so large, the differences between age groups and other key demographics are statistically valid.
The winner of the $500 donation will be chosen before Rosh Hashanah.
Interestingly, the Jews who responded to the survey are in many ways connected and engaged but not necessarily observant. Jewish respondents were 27 percent Orthodox, 33 percent Conservative, 16 percent Reform, 1 percent Reconstructionist, 15 percent “Just Jewish”, and 8 percent “Culturally Jewish.”
The poll shows that over two-thirds of Jewish respondents felt that the biggest barrier to encouraging young Jews to be proud of being Jewish and more connected to Israel was that, “young Jews don’t see it as relevant to their lives.” More so than expense, interest, time constraints or lack of anti-Semitism.
“It is vital to win the hearts and minds of young Jews to stay involved in the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Raphael Shore, Founder and CEO of Jerusalem U. “We know that young Jews need to see that Judaism is relevant to their lives. That is why we offer them the opportunity to hear from leading Middle East experts and world-renowned authors, educators and speakers, including Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Professor Alan Dershowitz, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Mayim Bialik, Elliot Gould and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin who can help their lives in concrete ways.”
Only 4 percent believe that if Israel no longer existed there would be less anti-Semitism in North America versus 33 percent who believe it would be about the same amount and 63 percent who believe there would be more anti-Semitism.
And nearly 90 percent and 84 percent of young Jews agree that, “having a Jewish spouse/partner is very important to me” and 93 percent that, “raising my children to be Jewish is very important to me.”
“Jerusalem U shows Israel and Judaism through a fresh lens, and it’s catching on. That is why our staff has expanded to over 50 talented people and our budget to approximately $2.6 million. We are working hard to make young Jews proud of being Jewish and to feel connected to Israel,” commented Shore.
Jerusalem U commissioned the survey in order to check in with stakeholders on their impact so they can continue to strengthen their offerings and understand their target audience better. Of individuals who were familiar with Jerusalem U or had taken one of their classes, fully 94% think that Jerusalem U is effective in “making young Jews feel proud of being Jewish and more connected to Israel.” Said Holtz, however, “We always strive to improve and Rosh Hashanah is the time to recommit ourselves to progress.”
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Jerusalem U is a leading online portal for Jewish distance learning with a vision to transform Jewish and Israel education for the 21st Century and to inspire, unify, and activate people of all ages as passionate supporters of Israel and the Jewish people.
Founded in 2009 by Rabbi Raphael Shore, Jerusalem U is breaking new ground in outreach by creating original feature films, engaging film classes and courses, and experiential and interactive learning, all distributed via the internet, social media, television, grassroots campaigns and partnerships with mainstream pro-Israel and outreach organizations.
Jerusalem U’s critically-acclaimed film, "Israel Inside," has been seen by millions of viewers on PBS, Comcast on Demand, El Al flights and in hundreds of screenings around the world. The organization is currently working on two follow-up films.
Jerusalem U has produced four 10-hour, online multimedia courses, has graduated more than 4,500 students, and is responsible for over 125,000 hours of Jewish and Israel learning by students worldwide. Jerusalem U’s film education courses are currently available for college students, high schools, adult education and organizations.
For More Information Contact:
Meagan Buren at msburen(at)yahoo(dot)com or JLM(at)laszlostrategies(dot)com