AirTalk for October 1, 2013

What makes someone Jewish?

Star of David and angels

Patrick Lentz

What is it that makes someone Jewish?

A new study from the Pew Research Center tackles that very question. One in five respondents of the survey who identify as Jewish say that they have no religion. They say they are connected to the Jewish community through culture and ancestry, not necessarily through a common belief in God. About two-thirds of the 3,500 Jewish Americans surveyed think that you can still be Jewish without being religious.

RELATEDA rapid shift for Jews away from religion, but not Jewishness

This demographic of secular Jews appear to be growing, especially among the young. The Pew survey finds that younger Jews are more likely to downplay the role of religion in their lives.

Does the rise in secularism, mean the demise of Judaism? Is being Jewish about birth and belonging or a leap of faith? If belief in God isn’t necessary to one’s Jewish identity, what is? Is it more a cultural or historic bond? We’d like to hear from our Jewish listeners about what it means for you to be Jewish?

Guests:
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, an Orthodox rabbi; President of CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York City; co-founder and executive editor of a new publication, The Wisdom Daily 

Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents roughly 600 synagogues in North America


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