This thesis explores the contributing factors that affect the rates of assimilation in contemporary Jewry. I have reviewed extensive literature on American Jewish history and assimilation and have interviewed ten American Jews on their views of assimilation and related topics. Results showed that there is a wide range of opinion on assimilation, and American Jewry is, since the first generation of immigrants to this country in the early twentieth century, progressively getting less in touch with its religious and/or ethnic heritage's. The main result is that American Jews, and in particular members of the younger generation, are assimilating more into the dominant White AngloSaxon Protestant culture. Also, there is a large discrepancy between the views of the older versus the younger generation; the younger being proportionately more "liberal' and the older generation being more "conservative" when it comes to accepting assimilation, intermarriage, not attending synagogue, etc. support the idea that Judaism has evolved and adapted to modern conditions necessitating a new definition of what it means to be "Jewish." This development is free of value judgments. It is neither in itself good or bad. Rather, assimilation is a necessary and irreversible process. This is not to say that Judaism will diminish in importance or disappear. Like the Jewish people, the Jewish religion will change but will always have adherents for whom the religion will fulfill a significant function.


Meyer, Eric


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1994 Amy S. Morros