Jewish Identity and Community in a Time of Unlimited Choices

The following report by Anna Greenberg builds on a previous study on religious identity, practice, and civic engagement among 18-25 year olds (Generation Y) with diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. The present study was commissioned to examine the Jewish cohort in more detail. Greenberg found that Generation Y Jews express their Jewish identity with confidence, but are unsure about how their religious identities play out in daily life.

The study found that:

  • today’s Jews have multiple identities shaped by many factors; that they are better integrated than their predecessors and worry less about their religious identities.
  • Generation Y Jews are incredibly self-confident about their Jewish identities.
  • They are less connected to a “community” and more connected to a people—a Jewish community on a global level.
  • Generation Y Jews are decreasingly aware of institutions.
  • Informal expressions of Jewishness are more prevalent than denominational identification.
  • American and Jewish values are indistinguishable.
  • Culture, particularly pop culture, acts as a catalyst for Generation Y to reinforce identity.


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