Does Jewish Schooling Matter

Publication Date: January 1977

Publisher: American Jewish Committee

Author(s): Geoffrey E. Bock

Research Area: Culture and religion; Education

Keywords: Day schools; Part-time (supplementary) schools; Identity Formation; Jewish Continuity

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The author analyzes the role of Jewish schooling in the overall process of Jewish identification in American society, basing his findings on data from the National Jewish Population Study undertaken by the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (now United Jewish Communities). The author finds that while Jewish school is an important factor in building Jewish identity, it is never the most important factor. (Family, for example, exerts consistently greater influence, the author explains.) Among many other conclusions, the author finds that time spent in Jewish classrooms has the greatest impact upon those individuals least likely to attend Jewish schools, and that day schools are not qualitatively better than supplementary schools, but more quantitatively efficient. (At least 1,000 hours of Jewish instruction are needed to substantively affect Jewish identification.) The author explores policy implications of all these findings.