01: A five percent drop among U.S. Jews since 1990 is the first significant decline in over a century, reports the Washington Post (Oct. 9).
Last month RW reported on a poll using a broad definition of Jewish identity and claiming that the number of Jewish connected Americans may be expanding. The more recent Jewish Population Poll measures “core” identity, meaning those who say their ethnic identity and/or religion is Jewish. The decline from 5.5 million in 1990 to 5.2 million in 2000 is said to be the biggest Jewish population drop since 1800.
Sociologists say the primary cause for the decline is more Jewish couples delaying child-bearing until their mid-thirties after they have established themselves in a career. On the upside, this finding reflects the high level of education and affluence among Jews, says Stephen Hoffman of the United Jewish Communities, which conducted the poll of more than 4,500 Jews.
02: Students attending private religious high schools are more likely to cheat on exams than those who attend other schools, a recent survey reports.
The survey, called “Report Card 2002: The Ethics of American Youth,” conducted by the Josephson Institute for Ethics, found that 78 percent of students attending religious high schools admitted they had cheated at least once on exams in the past year, compared to 72 percent of students at other schools. A Religion News Service-based article in Christian News (Oct. 28) cites the study as finding that religious ties seemed to have little influence on students lying to authority figures.
Ninety-five percent of students attending religious schools said they had lied to a parent at least once in the past year (86 percent to a teacher), compared to 93 percent of high schoolers overall (81 percent to a teacher) and 93 percent of students who said they had strong religious convictions. But students from religious schools and those with strong religious convictions were somewhat less likely to say they had shoplifted items from a store in the past year.