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The Jew Within: Self, Community, and Commitment Among the Variety of Moderately Affiliated

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Publication Date: January 1998

Publisher(s): Susan and David Wilstein Institute of Jewish Policy Studies (University of Judaism)

Author(s): Steven M. Cohen; Arnold Eisen

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: American Jews; Identity Formation; Jewish Identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


American Jewry's heightened concern with issues of Jewish identification and "continuity" has led to increased interest among scholars and communal leaders alike in the factors which shape, nourish and sustain Jewish commitment. Our purpose in this study is to explore the forces and motivations, which most affect Jewish commitment, by probing the behavior, attitudes, and backgrounds of those we call, "moderately affiliated American Jews." Three assumptions — two of them substantive, the third methodological — have guided us from the outset. All are based on previous research by us and others about American Jews, as well as on recent studies of religion and ethnicity among baby boomers more generally.