Monday, October 18, 2010

Addenda to Post on People Leaving Orthodoxy "in Droves"

Found this, seems pertinent to an earlier post. On the recent AJC Jewish Public Opinion Survey;
Why is the proportion of Orthodox in the survey holding steady?
In 2000, 10 percent of the survey identified itself as Orthodox; in 2010, it was 9 percent. For decades, the conventional Jewish wisdom has been that the Orthodox community is growing by leaps and bounds, while the non-Orthodox world is shrinking. So why isn't that reflected in the AJC numbers? I assume, knowing the AJC survey research people, that they strive for a sample that accurately reflects the demographics of the Jewish community. What gives?

I think it stays steady for the same reasons the overall Jewish population stays steady; lowering birthrates among the non-Committed Jews butts heads with Jews living longer, uping the geriatric percentage of the entire population, while more people identify as Jewish who are not meets against halachic Jews who become assimilated, etc, etc. But I think "what gives" is a new variable that is unspoken "conventional wisdom" among Orthodox; that a certain number of people leaving Orthodoxy, young and old, is now an established norm. A certain number of Orthodox families (of 4+ kids), simply aren't taking root - however small - while the increased survival rate of older, Orthodox-identifying Jews (and aging Boomer BTs from previous surveys), obscure the numbers of younger Jews who do not stay Orthodox; so the figures stay essentially the same? I don't know, maybe. Again, I think it matters that the majority of Jews who make Aliyah are Orthodox, and include the most motivated, community-building members.


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