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

Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

Author(s): Daniel Parmer; Sylvia Barack Fishman

Research Area: Culture and religion; Social conditions

Keywords: Values; Gender; Jewish Continuity

Type: Other

Coverage: United States


Gender imbalance is a critical problem in American Jewish life not because women are more active but because men are less active. Little serious research and discussion have been addressed to this imbalance, partially because such analysis can be misinterpreted as a call for women to retreat from Jewish involvements. This monograph argues that a healthy and vibrant Jewish society requires the active engagement of both genders. We explore the implications of contemporary liberal American Jewish societies that comprise the vast majority of American Jewry, in which men are often not invested in and engaged by their Jewishness, presenting statistical and systematic interview data to look at the impact of gendered differences and re-analyzing more than 300 transcribed interviews.