Publication Date: January 2001
Publisher: Institute of Contemporary Jewry
Author(s): Carmel Ullman Chiswick
Research Area: Culture and religion; Population and demographics
Keywords: Demography; Immigration; Jewish identification
Coverage: United States
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the American Jewish community was so overwhelmingly dominated by immigrants that its Judaism was effectively an "immigrant" religion, helping anchor its members in a familiar environment even as it supported their efforts at economic assimilation. As it traces religious change during the process of economic adjustment, this paper looks at the economics of religion among newly arrived "greenhorns," at religious change during the period of rapid upward mobility, and at the religion of economically assimilated foreign-born Jews. It considers consequences for subsequent generations, the American children and grandchildren of immigrants, and finally concludes with a brief summary of implications.