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Jewish Identity and the Secular Achievements of American Jewish Men and Women

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Three questions are addressed concerning the relationship of Jewish identity to secular achievements. Are the secular achievements of American Jews related at all to the strength of their Jewish identity? Which has a stronger relationship to secular achievement, a religious or an ethnic Jewish identity? Do communal aspects or private, personal aspects of Jewish identity have the stronger relationship to secular achievements? Using the 2000–2001 National Jewish Population Survey, we find that educational attainment, labor force participation, and occupational achievements are related to several expressions of Jewish identity, even after controlling for the traditional sources of variation (age, gender, education, family status). Jewish identity, as expressed in terms of religion, ethnicity, communal commitment, and private attitudes and practices, is related to contemporary Jewish secular achievement, albeit differently for men and women.

Keywords: Jewish; identity; secular achievement

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of SociologyRowan University 2: Retired, Independent Scholar

Publication date: March 1, 2011


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