Improving Outreach to Jewish Parents with Young Children in Milwaukee: A Report to the Helen Bader Foundation

Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher: Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Author(s): Mark I. Rosen

Research Area: Culture and religion; Social conditions

Keywords: Family; Jewish Identity; Communal Organization

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


For the most part, Jewish and intermarried parents do not seek out institutions that are specifically Jewish. Quality and convenience drive their choices, and as highly educated consumers, they tend to become involved with secular institutions, especially those parents who have had minimal exposure to Jewish religion and tradition. Being involved with secular institutions, they are less likely to make Jewish friends. Jewish friends lead to Jewish choices, so these parents will have little involvement with Jewish tradition during their child’s early formative years. Children raised in households lacking Jewish tradition will probably not attend Jewish preschools or supplementary schools, will not have Jewish friends themselves, and will not be exposed to Jewish holidays and traditions. These children will grow up with a weak or non-existent Jewish identity. This report describes Milwaukee’s strengths regarding outreach to parents with young children, and provides suggestions for building on these strengths.