OU expresses concern over decline in Jewish affiliation of US Jews

OU responds to Pew study which outlines declining Jewish affiliation among Jewish Americans.

Tags: OU
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Religious Jewish man wears a kippah at the Kotel
Religious Jewish man wears a kippah at the Kotel
Flash 90

The Orthodox Union (OU), the oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, expressed concern over the declining Jewish affiliation outlined in the Pew Research Center’s Jewish Americans in 2020 study.

"We feel strongly that Jewry’s unifying force is its collective connection to Torah knowledge and values," the OU said in a statement. "For the Jewish community, that connection has governed Jewish history and will guide its future. We are saddened that the youngest generation of American Jews includes a record high number who do not identify with Judaism as a religion, and that nearly one third of them say it is 'not at all' important for their future grandchildren to be Jewish."

"Parents are the most important agents of socialization for children, and they transmit their values to their children. The new Pew study confirms that parents’ Jewish attitudes and behaviors have a powerful impact on those of their children. As a result, we are currently focusing programs and services on parents and families, giving parents the resources to build a firm Jewish foundation for their children. Our community will continue to invest in a communal effort that provides every American Jew the opportunity and tools to learn of their heritage and to imbibe the wisdom of Torah."

“A core principle of Orthodoxy is that every Jew – whatever their level of observance – is a member of our people and is an individual to whom every Orthodox Jew is unconditionally connected and committed,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “The study demonstrates that we have insufficiently conveyed that connection and commitment.”

“While Orthodox Jewry is experiencing dynamic internal growth and is enjoying enthusiastic and innovative engagement, our community has deep concern for the totality of American Jewry, which is suffering overall attrition in Jewish engagement,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer. “Our community is also experiencing some attrition of its own, and it is our responsibility to identify and address the contributing factors to this phenomenon.”

“Orthodox Jewish life is immersive. Our faith defines where we choose to live, where and how we educate our children, and how we dress, eat and socialize. This may set us apart in some ways, but it also contributes significantly to our continuity and relatively low rates of attrition,” added Rabbi Hauer.