New Study Shows Divide Among Orthodox Jews

RONAN SHENHAV is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Split Occurring Along Generational Lines

According to a recent piece of research, the American Orthodox Jewish millennial is moving away from his/her Orthodox traditions.

The study is the first of its kind to be conducted on the Modern Orthodox Jews in America, which is a diverse and vocal community accounting for 4% of the American population. However, if the recent research is to be believed, the community isn’t as cohesive as it used to be.

For instance, the study found many younger Orthodox Jews have detached themselves from Israel while others are even calling for more female representation in the clergy.

The survey, titled “Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews” was conducted by Nishma Research. It is an in-depth study involving one of the widest surveys to be conducted among the Orthodox Community within the larger Jewish population.

Responses were collected from almost 4000 Modern Orthodox Jews in the United States. The study focused on topics ranging from religious beliefs to the current perception of Orthodoxy among the new generations. Other than that, the study also looked at the respondents’ views on the role/status of women, sexuality, children’s education, Jewish study, various aspects of the shul, the successes of the community, the connection with Israel and the challenges that face the community.

The study provided several interesting results. For instance, it was found that finances were seen as a big problem in the community. A majority of modern millennial Orthodox Jews stated that they found Jewish schooling to be significantly expensive.

In fact, it ranked number one among the community’s financial problem by a wide margin.

This was followed by costs associated with maintaining a Jewish home and the process of Shidduch, a matchmaking system where singles meet in Orthodox Jewish communities.

It was also found that a majority of liberal modern millennial Orthodox Jews support the idea of more roles for women in the clergy. Around 53% of the respondents supported greater roles for women in the clergy. 38 % of them even supported the idea of women holding titles indicative of Rabbinic authority.

The number of men agreeing with this was estimated to be 31% while the number of women was estimated to be 43%. The agreement was even more profound among women aged 18 to 34, with 52% supporting women in the clergy.

Other results from the study show a growing acceptance of LGBT Jews as well.


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