Twelve Angry Men and Women: Was Cohen's Critique of the Jewish Population Study Social Science or an Ideological Diatribe?

By Sidney Goldstein, Sergio DellaPergola, Ariela Keysar, Barry A. Kosmin, Vivian Z. Klaff, Daniel B. Levine, Joseph Waksberg, Egon Mayer, Frank L. Mott, Bruce Phillips, Jeffrey Scheckner, Ira M. Sheskin

Moment Magazine, April 1995

Sociologist Steven M. Cohen's analysis of the 1990-01 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), in the December 1994 issue of Moment Magazine ("Why Intermarriage May Not Threaten Jewish Continuity"), prompted an angry reaction from 12 members of the committee that planned the study. Cohen questioned not only the NJPS's best-known finding (a 52% interfaith marriage rate), but also a finding that 400,000 "Adults of Jewish Parentage" practice another religion and no longer identify as Jews, as well as the criteria the surveyors used to define a respondent as Jewish. The committee responded by questioning whether Cohen's analysis was ideologically based. The committee claims that Cohen misrepresented certain data and distorted facts in a variety of areas related to intermarriage data, treatment of converts and the weighting of the survey. The committee concluded by affirming that Cohen's confusing interpretation of data was a major disservice to the readers and that the Jewish community would ill-served by listening to Cohen's iconoclastic interpretation of the data.

Topic: Methodology, Intermarriage, Jewish Identity, Survey, Demography, Identity

Name of Publication: Moment Magazine

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Genre: Opinion

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Goldstein, Sidney. DellaPergola, Sergio. Keysar, Ariela. Kosmin, Barry A. Klaff, Vivian Z. Levine, Daniel B. Waksberg, Joseph. Mayer, Egon. Mott, Frank L. Phillips, Bruce. Scheckner, Jeffrey. Sheskin, Ira M. Twelve Angry Men and Women: Was Cohen's Critique of the Jewish Population Study Social Science or an Ideological Diatribe?. Moment Magazine. Moment Magazine. April 1995: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=4278


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