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'Cultural Jews' disinterested in associating with a synagogue (archives) Photo: Government Press Office
'Cultural Jews' disinterested in associating with a synagogue (archives) Photo: Government Press Office

'Cultural Jews' define themselves on their own terms

Survey reveals one in six American Jews are purposefully looking for way to express themselves Jewishly, engage with their Jewish identity outside of affiliation with synagogue

Syd Keeb
Published: 10.29.12, 08:09 / Israel Jewish Scene

An Ipsos Internet poll of 1,000 American Jews reveals that one in six are purposefully looking for a way to express themselves Jewishly and engage with their Jewish identity outside of affiliation with a synagogue.


The study, released by the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring, debunks the myth that American Jews either identify culturally or religiously as Jews, that it is an either/or proposition.


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Those polled often identified themselves as “spiritual" or “cultural", however many stated that they believed in God and continued to pray but were becoming disinterested in associating with a synagogue.


As much as 40% of those who took the survey were under 35 years old with 56% of respondents saying they held a deep attachment to Israel, which according to the Workmen’s Circle is bigger than “any other non-Orthodox group".


In past studies conducted by the Workmen’s Circle, Jews who had previously defined themselves as "cultural Jews" were more passive about their approach to Jewish life.


This survey indicates that there may be a shift in the way those who identifying as "cultural Jews" seek to express their Judaism. These Jews are interested in Jewish values and becoming affiliated with the greater Jewish community, but more often than not want to experience this outside of a synagogue setting.


Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life



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