Who is an American Jew and where are you?

The future of American Jewry?

Less liberal, more Orthodox and maybe more pro-Israel with the involved Jewish crowd (though growing numbers of young, American Jews are opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land):

The ranks of secular and religiously liberal American Jewry will be greatly diminished by the end of this century, leaving behind a legacy of thousands of gentile Goldsteins, Bernsteins and Kaplans. The shrunken Jewish community in the United States will be increasingly composed of the fervently Orthodox, with a reduced representation of more moderately devout Jews.

In 1964, Look magazine ran a cover story entitled “The Vanishing American Jew,” which posited that assimilation, low birth rates and intermarriage would conspire to extinguish American Jewry by the end of the 20th century. As it happens, it was Look magazine that vanished first.

But ultimately Look wasn’t that far off. The figure it referred to — that fleeting creation of the 19th-century Jewish Enlightenment known as the modern American Jew — is indeed on the way to becoming a relic. How ironic that this was a fate once widely thought to be reserved for the now resurgent ghetto yid, who may well end up being the typical American Jew of the 22nd century.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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