The Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, expressed concern over the declining Jewish affiliation outlined in the Pew Research Center’s Jewish Americans in 2020 study.
We feel strongly that Jewry’s unifying force is its collective connection to Torah knowledge and values. For the Jewish community, that connection has governed Jewish history and will guide its future. We are saddened that the youngest generation of American Jews includes a record high number who do not identify with Judaism as a religion, and that nearly one third of them say it is “not at all” important for their future grandchildren to be Jewish.
Parents are the most important agents of socialization for children, and they transmit their values to their children. The new Pew study confirms that parents’ Jewish attitudes and behaviors have a powerful impact on those of their children. As a result, we are currently focusing programs and services on parents and families, giving parents the resources to build a firm Jewish foundation for their children. Our community will continue to invest in a communal effort that provides every American Jew the opportunity and tools to learn of their heritage and to imbibe the wisdom of Torah.
The OU will host a panel discussion to address Pew’s research with communal leaders on May 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Those who are interested in tuning in, can register at ou.org/pewevent.
“A core principle of Orthodoxy is that every Jew – whatever their level of observance – is a member of our people and is an individual to whom every Orthodox Jew is unconditionally connected and committed,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “The study demonstrates that we have insufficiently conveyed that connection and commitment.”