Nine or more years of Jewish day school education have the most staying power of any other Jewish experience. That’s the conclusion that Professors Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen arrived at in a recently published article in MOSAIC.
Wertheimer and Cohen re-analyzed the 2013 Pew Survey. They confirmed that overall, intermarriage rates are increasing, birthrates are falling, and non-Orthodox Jews are less and less affiliated with Judaism and the Jewish community. However, this is not the case for adults who attended day schools for nine or more years.
What these researchers found was that a Jewish day school education into the high school years led to the highest levels of Jewish engagement compared to any other type of Jewish educational experience. Adults with nine or more years of a Jewish day school education were most likely to:
- Marry a fellow Jew.
- Raise their children in the Jewish religion.
- Feel a sense of responsibility for other Jews.
- Participate in religious and synagogue life.
TanenbaumCHAT is one of the many fine Jewish day high schools that is preparing students not only to participate in Jewish life, but shape it too. At a stage in life when teens question, reject, and challenge some of the most cherished values, Jewish high schools provide a Jewish context for teens to go through adolescence and emerge with a strong, proud Jewish identity.
If parents want their children to have one foot firmly planted in Western civilization and another in Jewish civilization, parents would be wise to provide their child with a sophisticated and sustained Jewish education that provides the best of both worlds.
If parents want to make a positive impact on the size, character, and commitment of the Jewish community and secure a strong future for our people, they should heed the well-documented findings of Professors Wertheimer and Cohen. They are incontrovertible.