The American Jewish Population
The Vanishing American Jew
In 1958, i.e., forty-four years ago, Look Magazine published an article called “The Vanishing American Jew”. This article was met with rejection and even fury by many Jews who did not want to know anything about the predictions made by those who wrote it. Yet, forty- four years later we are faced with these statistics.
is evident that if the present trends continue, we will indeed vanish from
America. This could well occur by the middle of this century.
the question arises at once: “Do we have anything going for us?” I think we
and foremost, we have succeeded in giving more of our children a full Jewish day
school experience than ever before. This means that despite our shrinking
numbers, there are more Jews in this country today who know Hebrew, can read the
Torah, have traveled to Israel and have studied Jewish history than ever before.
we have a great deal more political clout than our numbers would allow because
of our concentration in a few populous states where our numbers can still make a
difference. Forty three percent of all American Jews still live in the
Northeast, i.e., mainly New York; 22% live in the West, 22% live in the South
and 13% live in the Midwest. Because of our electoral college system we make a
political difference despite our small numbers. We also finance numerous
candidates in states which have few Jews. This strategy yields a number of
pro-Israel office holders who have hardly any Jewish constituency. Now don’t
let anybody tell you that our effort to “lobby” politicians is somehow not
legitimate. The truth is that the whole American system of government is based
despite our small numbers, we have built tremendous Jewish institutions in this
country which range from Jewish sponsored universities to Jewish hospitals,
Jewish sponsored libraries and Jewish welfare systems.
have several Jewish publishing houses and innumerable Jewish
publications. Above all, we have millions of Jews who have established
themselves firmly in the American system, whether in the economy, in education
or in the professions so we will always survive, however few we may be.
are a people of great courage. We
have been through more “tsores” than any people in history. Yet, we always
survived. So it will be again this time as we face the threat of self
destruction even as we faced the threats of the haters in other places and other
will survive no matter how ugly things look for us sometimes. This belief
sustains us and strengthens us and gives us hope Bimhayro ve yomayno
Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Grandparents: A New Look at the Supporting Generation (with Dr. Ursula A., Falk, 2002), & Man's Ascent to Reason (2002).