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October 18, 2013

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 18, 2013 U.S. Adult Population, 2013 Jews of Jews re on Jewish by rltlon Jews by Jewel no s 1914-1927) ii!i@i ! (born 1928-1945) Boomer (born 1946-1964) Gen X Ceom 1965 1980) Millen.ial (born after 1980) PEW RESEARCH CENTER By Uriel Heilman NEW YORK (JTA)--If you're pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Jewish identity building, what do you do when a survey comes along showing that the number of U.S. Jews engaging with Jewish life and religion is plummeting? That's the question fac- ing major funders of Ameri- can Jewish life following the release of the Pew Research Center's survey on U.S. Jews. The study--the first com- prehensive portrait of Ameri- can Jewry in more than a decade--showed that nearly one-third of American Jews under age 32 do not identify as Jewish by religion, that Jews are intermarrying at a rate of 58 percent (71 percent if the Orthodox are excluded) and that most intermarried Jews are not raising their kids as Jews. Intermarriage, by Year of Idarriage - 2005 2013 '04 "9(Y94 ===================== "70~'74 Befoce 1970 ~/ For many of the Jewish world's biggest funders, the answer to this question is clear: Stay the course. "We've known about these issues and many of us have been working in our own ways to address them," said Sandy Cardin, president of the Charles and Lynn Schus- terman Family Foundation, which with more than $2 billion in assets is one of the Jewish world's largest founda- tions focused on bolstering Jewish identity and com- munity among young people. "We haven't done it yet, and by no means is success assured, but I do think as a community we have identified significant ways to address these challenges," he told JTA. "It's too soon, I think, to see the immediate impact of what many of us in the community have been doing over the past five to 10 years." The logic to this approach is relatively straightforward: The findings in the Pew survey mostly upheld the assump- tions upon which maj or givers in Jewish life already have been operating. In their view, the survey validates their own philanthropic priorities-- even if they disagree with other philanthropists about what to prioritize. Jewish Child Rearing Among ~ho ~re p~,re~t~/~ua~d~n~ ~[ ~mor ,children/n their hou_w~d~ % rai~ng th~r ch~dn~n .... Part|y 3ewish ]~ish Jewish t~ot by by by r~igion NOT re|igionreligion or mix* Jewish Other N % % % % % NET Jewish 59 14 8 18 1=108 907 3ews by religion 71 15 7 7 "=IO0 764 .~ews of no refig~on 8 11 ii 67 2=100 143 Among Jews 3ewish spouse 96 2 1 1 0=100 5~1 Non-3ewish spouse 20 25 16 37 I=I00 257 PEW RESEARE~H CE?~rtrER "This new study reinforces the idea that we need an energizing nucleus which is literate in Hebrew, and which is engaged in intensive and immersive education and committed to Jewish life and Jewish institutions," saidYossi Prager, executive director in North America of Avi Chai, a major investor in Jewish education. Andres Spokoiny, CEO of the Jewish Funders Network, drew a different conclusion: "Those that were investing heavily in Jewish culture and alternative venues for Jewish identity were right," he said. "Given that a lot of Jews define themselves as secu- lar or atheist, it's critically important that while invest- ing in traditional venues in Jewish life, it's important to explore and find and foster venues for encouraging Jew- ish identity through non- traditional ways--through culture, through arts," Spo- koiny said. "I think that's a key message." Mark Charendoff, president of the Maimonides Fund, said the study demonstrates a remarkable failure to achieve many of the central goals adopted by the Jewish com- munity in thewake of the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, which showed what many considered alarmingly high assimilation rates. "As a community, we made a decision a couple of decades ago to focus on Jewish con- tinuity and Jewish identity, and we don't seem to have moved the needle by even one degree," Charendoff told JTA. "I would love to tell you I think it's awakeup'call, Pew on page 18A re By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)---The first lawmaker to speak at a closed-door Capitol Hill confab convened by the Re- publican Jewish Coalition's women's affiliate was, natu- rally enough, a woman. So was the second. Against the background of the current federal budget battle, that's about all that united Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). Ayotte has been a leading Republican voice calling on her GOP colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to stand down in their battle over President Obama's signature health care law--a fight that led last week to a shutdown of the federal government. Bachmann has been a leader among those urging them to hold the line. Judging from the RJC's Twitter feed Tuesday from the Capitol Hill Club, the white linen establishment near the Capitol where the coalition's National Women's Commit- tee was hosting its event that day, both women received an equally warm reception. But the genteel veneer can barely paper over the sharp divisions among Jewish Republicans as they watch their party rend itself over an impasse that has ground government operations to a halt and could presage an unprecedented default on the national debt. "My party has magnificent- ly grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory," said Fred Zeidman, a Houston-area lawyer and major donor to Republican presidential campaigns. The current crisis stems from the refusal of the Re- publican-controlled House of Representatives to pass a federal budget unless Obama agrees to delay or defund as- pects of the 2010 health care Friedman & Friedman Excellence in Real Estate Call Jeffrey at 407-719-0135 Call Barbara at 407-222-6059 One Team. Twice the Knowledge, Service and Experience DOORS Specializing in Winter Park and Maitland law known as Obamacare. The president has refused to negotiate, arguing that the Republicans are threaten- ing to blow up the national economy because they oppose a measure already duly passed into law. Zeidman made it clear that he blamed both sides. Obama should agree to negotiate with his Republican counterparts, he said, and the Republicans should adopt a continuing resolution that would per- mit the government to keep functioning. Failing to do so, Zeidman said, would cost Republicans at the polls next year. "Am I against Obamacare?" he asked. "Yeah. Am I going to shut down the country over it? Never." Zeidman, who said he had personally urged House Speaker John Boehner (R- Ohio) to bring an uncondi- tional funding authorization to the floor, blamed a cadre of about 35 to 40 conservative Tea Party Republicans ~n safe House seats for holding the national party hostage. "These are the zealots," he said. "They love this stuff. What are they going to do when they see we lose elec- tions?" Jewish Republicans by and large have been reluctant to address the issue. Matt Brooks, the Republi- can Jewish Coalition director, turned down several requests for interviews, and the office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the only Jewish Republican in Congress and the House ma- jority leader, did not respond to two requests for interviews. Cantor, who supports the party's strategy, earned cheers at the Capitol Hill Club meet- ing for calling on Obama to negotiate with Republicans, according to tweets from conservative blogger Melissa Braunstein, who was present. "When you have divid- ed government, you work through things by talking," she quoted Cantor saying. "This is about more than Obamacare or the debt. We have a real debate about the balance of power." More telling, perhaps, was how expansively the RJC's own Twitter feed reported the remarks by Ayotte, who has said elsewhere that the shutdown is not a "winning strategy." According to the tweets, Ayotte sharply criticized the isolationist faction within the GOP that has helped drive the shutdown, arguing that it was harming the U.S. on the world stage. The RJC tweeter followed up: "Ayotte:'Withdrawing from the world is not an option.' Predicts Reagan wing will win debate with isolationists within GOP.'" A senior Jewish Republican aide in Congress said the Tea Party wing deserved praise for galvanizing Republicans following the demoralizing Obamavictory lastNovember. The shutdown, said the aide, would open up a broader philo- sophic conversation about the role of government. "Soon we'll shift the mes- sage to spending, what type of government we have, what kind ofcountrywewant to live in," the aide said. The aide dismissed claims that shutting down govern- ment is an illegitimate tool, a way to roll back a despised law that Republicans were un- able to repeal through normal legislative tactics. He noted that Tip O'Neill, the esteemed Democratic House speaker in the 1980s, had shut down the government several times. Mel Sembler, a Florida real estate magnatewho, like Zeid- man, is a major fundraiser, recalled that President Bill Clinton agreed in 1996 to negotiate an end to a govern- ment shutdown with Repub- licans. Democrats counter that no previous government shutdown was aimed at undo- ing settled law. "Our president says he won't negotiate," Sembler said. "Our president is not a problem solver." The aide said that notwith- standing some complaints from moderates, the response from party members country- wide--including from donors like the billionaire industrial- ist Koch brothers--had been positive. "They've been spoiling for a fight for years," the aide said. "They're thrilled we shut the government down."