Of the approximately 5.3 million American adults who consider themselves Jewish, 22 percent say they have no religion, according to a new survey of American Jews conducted by the Pew Research Center and released on Oct. 1.
The National Jewish Population Survey, funded for $6 million by the federation umbrella group United Jewish Communities, reported that the nation's population of 5.2 million Jews represented a decline of 2 percent from the 1990 survey, which reported 5.5 million Jews.
The National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS) 2000-01, dubbed "Strength, Challenge and Diversity," offers key findings on demographics, intermarriage, Jewish "connections" -- that is, communal behavioral trends -- and such "special" topics as the elderly, immigration and poverty.
According to the released portions of the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), 1.5 million non-Jews live with Jews. Who are they? How do they relate to the Jewish community? How should the community respond to them?
Against the backdrop of a Jewish population that the NJPS describes as declining and graying, the decisions that interfaith couples make about the religious identity of their children are critical to the future vitality of the community. I believe that every attitude, every practice, every policy should be evaluated primarily by this standard: Will it increase the likelihood that the children of interfaith families will be raised as Jews?