Responding to the latest Pew Research Center report on the state of American Jewry, Agudath Israel of America expressed its concern over several of the report’s key findings, most notably that which revealed that around 25% of American Jews feel no connection to Judaism as a religion.
“The Pew Charitable Trusts report on American Jewry released today contains much of interest,” Agudath Israel said in a statement, stressing that, “its finding that approximately a quarter of U.S. Jewish adults do not identify at all with the Jewish religion, considering themselves Jewish only in an ethnic or cultural sense, should be deeply troubling to all Jews.”
The report also highlighted encouraging statistics for the Orthodox community, but Agudath Israel noted that, “While there are findings in the report that bode well for the future of the Orthodox community ... we can take no true comfort in our growth and retention rates when so many of our fellow Jews are rapidly shedding their religious identity as they assimilate into larger society. Ethnic and cultural identities – indeed, any Jewish identities shorn of what makes us a people, our Torah — are ephemeral.
“What is eternal is all Jews’ mutual religious heritage – and, today, Jewish teachings can be accessed by all Jews, however (or if) they affiliate, in myriad ways. We must all enable and encourage Jewish education, on every level and at every age.
There are issues of common concern to Jews across the spectra of affiliation and observance — Israel’s security, anti-Semitism and Jewish poverty among them. But we must recognize the essence of the Jewish mandate, and what binds all Jews both to one another and to the Creator: His Torah.”