Jewish survey shows half claim affiliations, 14 percent stress observance

Posted: Friday, September 24, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) A poll of American Jews shows 51 percent report membership in a synagogue but only 14 percent consider ''religious observance'' the most important factor in their Jewish identity, less than those who stressed social justice or simply being ''part of the Jewish people.''

The latest American Jewish Committee survey showed 31 percent of respondents identified with Judaism's Conservative branch, 29 percent with Reform, 7 percent with Orthodoxy, 2 percent with Reconstructionism and 30 percent as ''just Jewish.''

Asked which is the greater threat to American Jewish life, two-thirds picked anti-Semitism over the one-third for intermarriage. Almost all said anti-Semitism in America is ''very serious'' or ''somewhat of a problem.''

On politics, 69 percent favored John Kerry for president, 66 percent disapproved of the Iraq war, 63 percent supported Israel's handling of Palestinian relations and 49 percent favored legalized gay marriage.

The phone poll of 1,000 Jews, conducted Aug. 18 to Sept. 1, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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