Pew Study of American Jewry: A Few Grains of Salt by Dr. Samuel Klausner

We are honored to share a paper of the eminent sociologist of American Jewry, Dr. Samuel Klausner. In this paper, Dr. Klausner presents his observations of the Pew Study of American Jewry (2013). Dr. Klausner writes: “Why have so many of my sociologist friends and leaders of the American Jewish community accepted the Pew report findings at face value? A Portrait of Jewish Americans has received wide attention. An article appeared in the Forward and Arnold Eisen discussed it in his blog. My list serv from the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ) has had a running discussion of both findings and methods. Recently, I received a Board Briefing from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture which describes the report as “important and impartial.” The subtext of “impartial” may account for some of the uncritical impact of the findings. Pew has published ‘raw’ numbers, unexplained summaries of interview responses. The results evoked skepticism in this reader. An examination of how these results were obtained, a methodological critique, confirmed my skepticism.” . . .


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