Demographic shift of American Jewry

Lili Pauli (phenya@ccsg.tau.ac.il)
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 22:49:48 +0300

This week many Rabbis brought down stories of Parshat('the Torah portion
of') Balak. Rabbi Yerachmiel Boyer shilita talked about the danger of mixing
of the sexes which was the downfall of 24,000 of the Bnei Yisrael as Bilaam
planned it. Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau shilita quoted an article which
appeared in the Jewish Observer about people calling themselves Jewish. The
statistics were taken by non-Orthodox scientists. Out of 100 Jews of each
group what would be in a generation and in 4 generations.

Of the 100 Totally unaffiliated Jews - after 1 generation there would remain
36 Jews after 4 generations there would be 5 Jews left. Reform with 53%
intermarriage rate after 1 generation with a birth rate of 1.62 would remain
51 Jews and after 4 generations would remain 13. Conservative (he did not
mention statistics) Orthodox (non-Yeshiva also no statistics) Orthodox
Yeshiva & Heredim 3% intermarriage after 1 generation with a birth rate at
6.4 would be 196 and after 4 generations approximate 2586. In short, in
another 4 generations, the "Who is a Jew" issue will die out by itself
because unfortunately we will have lost the millions of non-affiliated and
Reform Jews. The Conservative Jews will be a small minority even though
today they constitute 49% of American Judiasm. Where will your children be?
Will they say Kaddish after you are gone? What about your cousins, nephews,
nieces?

I can tell you my own family statistics from people born 6th generation
American Reform Jews. Out of 13 first and second cousins the next generation
so far has 2 Orthodox Jews, 3 Conservative Jews, 3 Reformed or
non-affiliated, 4 Jewish mother - mixed marriage and 2 non-Jews. If we count
spouses that is quite a net loss to the Jewish people. If you take into
consideration that the youngest female cousins are 40 plus/minus there will
not be too much of a change. I Just want to add that fortunately my European
second cousins stuck more with tradition.

Be well,
Richard (Rachamim) Pauli