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Matrilineal Ascent/Patrilineal Descent: The Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life

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Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher(s): Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies; Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Author(s): Sylvia B. Fishman; Daniel Parmer

Funder(s): Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Funder(s): Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Feminism; Leadership; Religion

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This study finds that as the liberal Jewish community empowers its women, its men appear to be losing interest in their Jewishness. Jewish males, from school age through the adult years, have fewer connections with Jews and Judaism than their female counterparts. This lack of male interest shows up not only at home, with the observance of domestic Judaic rituals, but also in public religious leadership as well.