The Quality of American Jewish Life - Two Views: "Reason for Optimism" and "A Grim Outlook"

Publication Date: November 1987

Publisher: American Jewish Committee

Author(s): Steven M. Cohen; Charles S. Liebman

Research Area: Culture and religion; Social conditions

Keywords: American Jews; Demography; Jewish Identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


For several decades, serious scholars have predicted that increased intermarriage, declining birthrates and widespread assimilation would bring about the weakening, perhaps even the disappearance, of American Jewry. More recently, however, these dire predictions have been challenged by new studies pointing to a vibrant Jewish community, working confidently for a secure Jewish future. As the debate continues, the American Jewish Committee continues to monitor trends in contemporary Jewish life and to assess their policy implications for the Jewish community. This pamphlet brings together divergent assessments of the quality of American Jewish life by two distinguished social scientists, Steven M. Cohen, professor of sociology at Queens College, and Charles S. Liebman, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University. Both essays were specially commissioned by the American Jewish Committee. Professor Cohen delivered his paper at an AJC conference on "New Perspectives in American Jewish Sociology" that took place in May 1986.