Reflections on the Pew Survey

With an always level head, Alan Brill responds to the PEW survey on American Jewish identity. —JPP

The Book of Doctrines and Opinions:

When Rav Soloveitchik was teaching the beginning of Yoreh Deah, which excludes those who do not observe the mizvot or those who spitefully cede from the community, he told a story of how men who attended Yom Kippur balls and ate on Yom Kippur later in life become members of his Chevra Shas. He had a keen sense of reversals and surprise endings.

My post on the Pew survey was up five minutes after we were allowed to reveal its data, and consisted of a collection of the factoids, but it was not yet a piece of reflection. It turns out that even though the margin of error for the entire survey, was +/- 3%, the margin of error for the Orthodox data turns out to be +/- 12.4%, explaining the surprising and wildly outlying data. Yet, the overall directions and proportions remain correct. In addition, much of the…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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