27th David W. Belin Lecture: “The Shrinking Jewish Middle, and Its Implications for Jewish Communal Policy”
The number of middle-aged non-Orthodox Jews who are engaged in Jewish life is poised to drop sharply in the next 20-40 years. And, absent significant policy changes, their numbers will continue to drop for years to come.
Low rates of marriage and births, along with high rates of intermarriage among American Jews are generating a shrinkage of what may be termed the “Jewish Middle.” The “Jewish Middle” encompasses Jews located in the central region of the Jewish identity spectrum, approximately those identifying as Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.
Effective policies need to achieve the following outcomes:
* Bring down the average age at marriage.
* Increase the rate of inmarriage.
* Raise the fertility rate of non-Orthodox Jews.
* Encourage more non-Jewish spouses of Jews to see themselves as Jews.
Forum Hall, Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109