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A study that says the Jewish community is divided between the inmarried and the intermarried, authored by sociologist Steven Cohen, is finally getting some significant press–more than a month after it was first available.
We blogged about the study in early January. Titled A Tale of Two Jewries: The “Inconvenient Truth” for American Jews, the study argues that the Jewish behaviors of the inmarried are much higher than the Jewish behaviors of the intermarried, and the gap is growing. It says that the Jewish community should partially judge the success of Jewish youth activities by how much they lower the participants’ potential for intermarriage. Our criticisms, which are many, with his approach and message, are catalogues in the previous blog post and may also be in a forthcoming JTA op-ed.
In the meantime, Cohen himself has written an op-ed defending and explaining his study in the Jerusalem Post as a response to Jewish Outreach Institute Assistant Director Paul Golin’s op-ed criticizing the study. One interesting critique Golin brings up that we didn’t mention is Cohen’s own admission that zip code may be a more powerful factor in determining Jewish behavior than intermarriage; that is, living near other Jews may be a greater determinant of Jewish behavior than whether you’re married to a non-Jew. If that’s the case, Cohen’s entire argument is baseless. Rather than separating the Jewish population between the intermarried and the inmarried, it should be separated between those who live in Newton, Mass., Brooklyn and Cherry Hill, N.J., and those who don’t.
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