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Passing on the FaithTransforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and
            Muslims$
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James L. Heft

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226474

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226474.001.0001

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Current Expressions of American Jewish Identity: An Analysis of 114 Teenagers

Current Expressions of American Jewish Identity: An Analysis of 114 Teenagers

Chapter:
(p.135) Current Expressions of American Jewish Identity: An Analysis of 114 Teenagers
Source:
Passing on the Faith
Author(s):

Philip Schwadel

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226474.003.0008

This chapter explores the characteristics of 114 American teenagers' Jewish identities using data from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR). The NSYR includes a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,290 adolescents aged 13 to 17. Of the NSYR teens surveyed, 141 have at least one Jewish parent and 114 of them identify as Jewish. The NSYR also includes in-depth face-to-face interviews with a total of 267 U.S. teens: 23 who have at least one Jewish parent and 18 who identify as Jewish. Only a small minority of Jewish teens in the NSYR sample regularly performs religious rituals or attends worship services. Most say religion has little effect on their daily lives. A substantial number of the Jewish teens surveyed are unsure about the existence of God. Some were indifferent or even antagonistic toward religion in general. Most take a pluralistic and individualistic approach to their religious beliefs and practices. They approve of exploring and practicing other religious traditions and feel entitled to adapt Jewish traditions to suit their needs.

Keywords:   Jews, American teenagers, religious life, religious beliefs, spiritual life, National Study of Youth and Religion

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