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The (Dis)similarity of a Minority Religion to Its Broader Religious Context: The Case of American Jews

Harriet Hartman and Ira M. Sheskin
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 55, No. 3 (September 2013), pp. 459-490
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43185886
Page Count: 32
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The (Dis)similarity of a Minority Religion to Its Broader Religious Context: The Case of American Jews
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Abstract

While much research shows the relationship between individual-level variables, such as Jewish background, education, age, and income and an individual's Jewish identity, very little research has systematically addressed the question of community context, either general or Jewish, as a factor influencing Jewish religious or ethnic identity. This lack of research has been partially a result of the lack of an adequate data set to facilitate such analysis. Using the newly-aggregated Decade 2000 data set, with its 19,800 cases spread across 22 Jewish communities, we find that despite the anecdotal evidence and the logic that suggests that environment impacts behavior, the environmental impact on Jewish identity is clearly weak. Individual characteristics are much stronger than community context in explaining variations in the strength of Jewish identity.

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