American Jewish Public Activity: Identity, Demography, and the Institutional Challenge

By Sherry Israel

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), September 16, 2001

The author looks at the decline in Jewish communal affiliation since the 1970s. To explain this decline, she argues against a "straight line assimilation" approach and instead advocates for a more nuanced interpretation. She contends that as religious identity has become more inward and personalistic, it no longer carries with it nearly automatic expression in community-related behaviors. As such, the author argues that this new form of identity presents a problem to the old organizational structures. She states that the way to attract these "new-identity" Jews is to demonstrate that the purposes and activities of American Jewish institutions are relevant to their private concerns.

Topic: Organizational Development, Philanthropy and Fundraising, Development, Jewish Identification, Fundraising and Philanthropy, Demography

Name of Publication: Jerusalem Letter / Viewpoints

Volume/Issue: 462

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Genre: Report

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Israel, Sherry. American Jewish Public Activity: Identity, Demography, and the Institutional Challenge. Jerusalem Letter / Viewpoints. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). 16 September 2001:


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