For years, Jewish organizations have claimed that Jews are “marrying out” in the U.S. at a rate of 52%, and that this constitutes a major threat to the continued existence of American Jewry—but now a major Jewish newspaper has admitted that this figure is completely incorrect.
The Jewish Daily Forward newspaper, in a review of the newly republished American Jewish Year Book, discussed why the American Jewish Committee had stopped publishing the year book in 2008.
“The other big news that didn’t get reported from the 2001 survey was that it revisited the best-known factoid from the 1990 survey, that Jews were intermarrying at an annual rate of 52%, and concluded it was wrong,” the Jewish Forward wrote.
“Scholars had begun questioning it soon after its initial release, and the noise from within the academic community eventually led to the 2001 reexamination.
“The combination of the two embarrassments — the repudiation of the 1990 survey’s best-known finding plus the utter mess of 2001, led to the federation body quietly dissolving its population research unit and quitting the survey business.
“The city-by-city tally had appeared in the yearbook for years and kept showing increases from the year before, generally matching other surveys.
“Only after the 1990 intermarriage figure prompted predictions of decline did the city-by-city and national surveys start to diverge. By 2002 the gap was embarrassingly close to a million. In 2005 the yearbook dropped the city-by-city tally and went with DellaPergola’s world Jewish population charts. Shortly after, AJC quit the yearbook business.”
The claim that Jews are vanishing through intermarriage has served many purposes, the most prominent of which has been to heighten Jewish ethnocentricism. The admission by the Daily Forward that the claim is not true, merely confirms what other observers have seen in practice, namely that the numbers of Jews in America is actually increasing, not declining.