A new study shows that 60% of non-religious American Jews have no children whatsoever and will leave this world with no future generation to succeed them.
This study was done by Professor Steven Cohen and by Professor Sylvia Barak-Fishman and it shows painful statistics about the Jewish nation. The researchers took the results of the Pew report from 2013 and filtered out the data of orthodox Jews that marry mainly in their community. The results show that only 40% of the non-religious have children altogether. Since orthodox Jewry comprises 6.6% of the Jewish population that means the lion’s share of the American Jewish population has no children.
At to this the grim statistics that of those non-religious that had children officially 8% of these families have children not halachically Jewish (the true number may be higher) only 21% of families with children will have any sort of Judaism in their life, an additional 11% call themselves Jewish without religion and will grow up knowing nothing about Judaism.
Another finding is that 50% of non-religious Jews are not married and 29% have a non-Jewish spouse. Of those married only 21% are married to Jews and most as we said, don’t have children.
“This is a tragedy. In the next generation only 1/5th of Jews will have any ties to Judaism”, Says Dr. Shlomo Fischer from the ‘Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI)’. “In order to have Jewish education you need Jewish children. If there are no children there’s no Jewish education. All the good intentions of organizations and volunteers won’t make it happen. Any talk about Jewish education is worthless if there’s no one to educate. On the other hand you can’t force people to have children.”
One of the things to change according to study results is teen age education. “Most Jewish education (in non-religious circles) is aimed at children until Bar mitzvah age”, explains Dr. Fischer. “If these children would continue to receive a Jewish education until entering university and would have a Jewish group of friends and Jewish environment, chances of marrying Jewish would improve. The problem is that jewish education begins and ends at the bar mitzva.”