Thursday, January 19, 2006

What does "Just Jewish" mean?

The results of our local Jewish population survey (approximately 48,700 people) were recently released, and the most startling statistic that produced dialogues and discussions both on the pulpit and off was that 36% of those surveyed identified themselves as "Just Jewish."

For those curious, Conservative and Reform tied at 31% of the population each, and Orthodox at a small but strong 2%.

But this question of "Just Jewish" rasied all sorts of concerns.

  • Did "Just Jewish" mean they identified as Jewish but didn't want to commit to one movement over another, or they crossed denominational lines?
  • Did "Just Jewish" mean they were unaffiliated because they wanted nothing to do with organized (or dis-organized, depending on your perspective) Judaism?
  • Did "Just Jewish" mean identification on a cultural and/or ethnic level but not a religious one?
  • Or did "Just Jewish" mean that Judaism as we know it is changing (yet again) and there are other descriptions of religious Judaism that do not fit the traditional movement models as we know them?
BZ has one answer in this article, which may give you a whole new way of thinking about what it means to be a Jew, what it means to be religiously Jewish, and if the intra-religious debates about Jewish authenticity based on the movement (or lack of) with which one affiliates is about to become obsolete.

Please check it out!


BZ said...

Thanks for the link!

Sheyna Galyan said...

You're quite welcome! I enjoyed your article; it made me think and broadens my understanding of how Judaism is evolving. I particularly like the "this is who I am and why I practice the way I do" posts. Between your post and Mah Rabu's post on Jewish pluralism, I've decided to work on my own entry into the conversation. :-)