8.17.2005

2+ things I learned at CAJE today

1. Currently, only 17% of American Jewish households are composed of two Jewish parents living with Jewish children. The majority of American Jewish households are composed of one Jewish adult living alone.

Aside from the fact that's kind of sad (I don't think people were meant to live alone, at least not long-term, nor do I think they were meant to live with a rotating series of multiple roommates in crowded apartments in urban areas with sky-high rent), how can they afford to live without roommates? Are they all doctors and lawyers? Or do they all live in the midwest?

2. The average age for marriage in the US today is 27 for men and 25 for women (not for Jews, for everyone).

And, here, a more generalized reaction to CAJE... The thing that CAJE always makes me realize is that, at least according to the teachers here, many American six year olds first hear about God, Shabbat, and tefillah/prayer in Hebrew school. Why don't they know about those things before they're six? (That's a rhetorical question, I know the answer.) I just don't get why people don't "do Jewish" at home if they want their kids to "be Jewish." And if I didn't value "doing Jewish" enough to do it myself (I could see how people wouldn't), I don't see why I would send my kids to school to hear about it secondhand. That just doesn't seem like a sustainable model for Jewish life at all. And it's part of why I want to live in Israel. There, at least if people aren't actively doing Jewish (although many more are, in some way, than are in the US, I would assume), at least children, mostly, are exposed to God, Shabbat, and tefillah before the age of six.

1 comment:

BZ said...

1) Majority mamash, or plurality?

Is living with roommates an option in the survey? If not, I might have responded that I live alone, since i don't think of my roommate as part of my "household" -- our finances are separate.

2) Parents send their kids to Hebrew school because they had to go to Hebrew school when they were kids, so they're inflicting it on the next generation. They don't want their kids to "be Jewish", they just want them to marry Jews and have Jewish offspring. It's Judaism as a race, stripped of content.

And I'm not sure that most Israeli kids are exposed to God, Shabbat, and tefillah either. Or if they are, it's as something that belongs to "the other", wearing a black hat and beard.