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American Jews are facing a demographic crisis. An aging population, low fertility rate, and high rate of intermarriage combine to reveal an exceptionally weak desire to raise up a new generation of Jewish Americans. In this 2005 Commentary article, sociologist Jack Wertheimer explores and explains this phenomenon and asks whether there is anything that can […]

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Why don’t Jews like the Christians who like them? Renowned political scientist James Q. Wilson explores this question in a 2008 article for City Journal. He describes evangelical support for Zionism and the Jewish people, Jewish distrust of evangelical supporters, and even the Jewish penchant to ally with hostile groups. The explanation lies, Wilson suspects, […]

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In this 1955 book chapter, the eminent American sociologist Nathan Glazer profiles the American Jewish community in its first three hundred years. He describes the experiences of Sephardi and Ashkenazi immigrants to America: their professions, educations, family life, and economic mobility. In this discussion, spanning from the early colonial days to the post–World War II […]

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On top of the rising costs of raising a child in America, Jack Wertheimer estimates that “actively engaged” Jewish families pay a premium of “$50,000 and $110,000 a year just to live a Jewish life.” Behind these financial costs are significant moral ones, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper argues in this 2012 article. High costs of living […]

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In this 1988 article, Irving Kristol explores historical and theological reasons for Jewish attachment to the politics of the Left: the history of their emancipation, the emphasis of the “prophetic” elements of the Jewish tradition, and their identification with the downtrodden. But, though understandable, Kristol wonders if Jewish attachment to leftist politics is sustainable over time. Social […]

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In this 1968 Commentary article, a self-described feminist reflects on the virtues of separate gender roles in the synagogue and in the Jewish family. Separate gender roles prevent women from relieving men of their communal obligations, lowering the risk of alienating them from religious service and synagogue life. Separate seating and complementary but distinct duties enable […]

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Synagogue membership rolls have been dwindling, and the Jewish establishment is right to wonder about the fate of the one communal institution around which the religious lives of most Jewish men and women have revolved since the destruction of the Second Temple. In the United States, the synagogue is threatened by a scale of young […]

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Courting Disaster

July 21, 2016 | By: Nathan J. Diament

In The Dissent of the Governed, Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter warns of the American courts’ increasing imposition of secularism in America. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, designed to defend religious freedom in America from established churches, has come instead to be interpreted as protecting the public square from religion altogether. The imposition of […]

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Tribe and Family

July 13, 2016 | By: Isaiah Rackovsky

Writing in Tradition in 1965, Rabbi Isaiah Rackovsky explores the tension between the institution of the family, which serves as the foundation of the Jewish way of life, and modernity, its ideas and political institutions. Judaism sets the framework for cultural transmission by imparting a duty on parents to educate their children and commanding children […]

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Writing in 1994, Irving Kristol warns about the demographic problems facing American Jews. By the mid-nineties, the American Jewish community was pursuing a path to assimilation through low birth rates and intermarriage. Both phenomena, Kristol argues, were not failures of Jewish communal policy, but instead the unanticipated consequences of its success. For years, championing the […]

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