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Non-denominational and Post-denominational: Two Tendencies in American Jewry

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Publication Date: June 2005

Publisher(s): Jewish Life Network

Author(s): Steven M. Cohen

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: American Jews; Jewish Identification; Religious Denominations

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


In the last few years, two trends, distinctive but often conflated, have come to characterize the denominational identity patterns of American Jews. One we may call "non-denominationalism," in which Jews decline to see themselves as aligned with Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform or Reconstructionism (the major denominational choices available to American Jews). On social surveys, when asked for their denominational identity, they answer, or are classified as, "Just Jewish," "Secular" or "Something else Jewish."

In Contact: The Journal of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, v.7 no.4, Summer 2005, p.7-8