Funny, you don’t look Pewish
Last month, the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project released “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” the first major study of the American-Jewish population in more than a decade. The study launched a wide debate over Jewish identity, interfaith marriage, and the future of the Jewish religion in America. Discussion of these issues dominated the conversation around “Pew” and obscured some other important findings, as researchers continue to find nuggets buried in the mountains of raw data. Some highlights:
• 64 percent of synagogue-goers try hard not to giggle when the rabbi announces the yahrtzeit of Hymie Lipschitz.
• 56 percent of Conservative Jews run through last night’s episode of Homeland when they get to the silent parts of the “Musaf Amida.”
• 26 percent of New Age Jews have experienced anti-Semitism in someone else’s lifetime.
• 33 percent of Reconstructionist Jews all this time thought they were Reform.
• 77 percent of Reform Jews have a picture on their wall of a hasidic rabbi. Zero percent of hasidic Jews have a picture of a Reform rabbi.
• Two out of three Jewish women talk about the third one when she’s not around.
• 22 percent of American Jews say they had no idea that Tisha B’Av and Tu B’Shevat are two different holidays.
• 86 percent of Orthodox Jews are on my flight to Israel every time I go. I swear it feels that way.
• 96 percent of Jews named David Cohen sort of resent the other guys named David Cohen.
• 100 percent of the diet soda runs out before the end of kiddush, while three in five bottles of non-diet soda sit untouched. So what’s with all the non-diet soda?
• Among Jews married to non-Jews, 38 percent have an uncle who doesn’t understand how what he said at the bris could offend anybody.
• 66 percent of the letters to the editor of The New York Times are written by Jews — oh wait, that’s just Abraham Foxman.
• Among Jewish adolescents, 68 percent told Pew researchers that they identified as Jews, and 32 percent shrugged and grunted when you asked them who that was they were talking to on the phone.
• 34 percent of Jews say a person can be Jewish even if he or she believes Jesus was the messiah — just as long as they don’t go to church, drink beer from the can, or join the NRA.
• 77 percent of the questions asked by Jews at public events are in fact lengthy rebuttals of the guest speaker or memories of having served in the military.
• Three-quarters of Jews say they were raised Jewish by religion, 20 percent say they were raised Jewish by guilt and haranguing, and 80 percent of Jewish mothers will say at some point that their children were raised by wolves.
• Two in five American Jews will attend an adult study program at the synagogue this year, in the sense that they will stick their head in the room and ask, “Is this the Zumba class?”
• 64 percent of Pew researchers asked for a transfer after spending an hour arguing with Jewish subjects on the phone.