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?
Please check it out!