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Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2016
Abstract: Intermarriage has long been a concern for Jewish community leaders and members. Many have commonly interpreted it as deeply corrosive to Judaism, arguing that it erodes Jewish identity and causes the contraction of the Jewish population. Yet, remarkably, much of the debate about intermarriage in the UK has been based on American Jewish statistics, and an assumption that the situation there either mirrors reality in Britain, or foretells the probable and almost inevitable future of the UK Jewish community.

This report, Jews in couples: Marriage, intermarriage, cohabitation and divorce in Britain, written by JPR Senior Research Fellow, Dr David Graham, is the first dedicated study of the topic that has ever been published about Jews in Britain. By assessing intermarriage in the wider context of partnerships more generally, and by drawing on high quality data from JPR’s own survey and from national census data, it is arguably one of the most robust studies of these topics produced anywhere.

Importantly, it estimates that the intermarriage rate in Britain currently stands at 26%, which is dramatically lower than the equivalent figure of 58% for the United States. Moreover, it shows that the rate has only climbed very slowly in Britain since the early 1980s, when it stood at 23%.

Nevertheless, it is unforgiving in its assessment of the effects of intermarriage on Jewish life. It finds that, whereas more or less all children of in-married Jewish couples are raised as Jews, this is the case for only a third of the children of intermarried couples. It also demonstrates that intermarried Jews exhibit far weaker levels of Jewish practice than in-married Jews on all measures investigated.

Beyond intermarriage, the report also explores the topics of divorce, cohabitation and same-sex couples. It finds that Jews are less likely to be divorced than the British population in general, but that the toll that divorce takes on women is notably greater than on men; that there has been a 17% rise over the course of the past decade in the number of Jews cohabiting, and that one in three Jews in their late 20s currently cohabits with their partner; and that just over 2,200 Jews live in same-sex couples, or 1.8% of all Jews in partnerships.
Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2015
Abstract: Israelis constitute the largest foreign-born group of Jews living in the UK, and, as such, they garner considerable interest both in Britain and in Israel. In Britain, the presence of Israeli Jews constitutes a potential boon to the Jewish community, although any increase in their numbers can also place a potential strain on existing resources. In Israel, the decision to move abroad is rarely seen as a completely neutral choice, so understanding more about who migrates and in what numbers, makes an important contribution to contemporary Israeli discourse.

This report, entitled “Britain’s Israeli Diaspora,” uses UK Census data to paint a portrait of the diverse Israeli population in Britain. Whilst it includes a fair number of stereotypical, born-and-bred, accented Israelis who are recent migrants to the UK, it also contains a considerable proportion of people who hold dual Israeli-British citizenship, have been living in Britain for many years and appear to be well-integrated into British society.

There is clear evidence to show that the Israeli population of the UK has grown over time, increasing by an estimated 350% between 1971 and 2011, and whilst it is still small, it now stands at its highest ever recorded level. Moreover, in the decade between 2001 and 2011, a greater number of Israelis moved to Britain than British Jews moved to Israel, at a ratio of three to two.

Many of the Israelis who have moved to the UK recently are in their mid-20s to mid-40s, and are highly educated, and whilst most are secular and relatively few choose to engage in Jewish communal religious life, approximately half of those with children choose to send their children to Jewish schools. At the same time, it is important to note that the Israeli population in the UK includes a sizeable proportion of strictly Orthodox Jews (about 16%), and a not insignificant proportion of non-Jews (9%).

Based on these data, it is difficult to determine the forces that may be driving Israeli migration. Whilst one might be tempted to argue that political or economic considerations are key, the most compelling evidence points to rather more prosaic factors – most notably, partnering with, or marrying, someone from Britain.
Date: 2015
Abstract: An innovative study looking at UK census data through the lens of the household – or Jewish family – shows that only a quarter of all Jewish homes are comprised of the stereotypical married couple with children, and two out of three Jewish households in Britain have no children living in them at all. It further demonstrates that an estimated 17,600 Jews aged 65 or above live alone, the majority of whom are women.

The report, entitled Jewish families and Jewish households: Census insights into how we live, is the latest in a series of reports published by JPR that draw on data from the 2011 Census to understand key aspects of contemporary Jewish life in Britain. It is the most comprehensive report on these data published so far, and reveals a number of important insights, hitherto unknown.

Amongst these, it demonstrates that a third of all Jewish households have people living within them who are either not Jewish, or whose Jewish status is unclear. On the face of it, this represents little change over the decade since 2001, but close examination of the data indicate that there has been an increase in the number of Jews living with people who say they have no religion, alongside a decrease in the number of Jews living with people who have a different religion.

The report also investigates differences in household make-up between Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities, and demonstrates that Jews are far less likely than average to cohabit or to live in single parent families – a finding which indicates that the traditional Jewish family is holding up relatively well in the face of general changes in family formation habits in Britain. On the other hand, a higher proportion of Jewish households have people aged 65 or over living alone in them than British households in general, or for that matter, the households of almost every other minority group in the UK.

In addition, household data from the census provide valuable insights into the lives of students and young adults, revealing that there are more Jewish students based in Gateshead than any other city in the UK. Nottingham and Birmingham follow quite closely behind, and both Oxford and Cambridge feature among the top seven locations for Jewish students. One in five young adults aged 25-29 still live with their parents, and the proportion in that age group living alone declined by about a third between 2001 and 2011, probably due to issues around affordability.
Date: 2014
Date: 2010
Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2009
Abstract: This study, located in the disciplines of human geography and demography, explores the socio-spatial boundaries encapsulating Britain’s Jewish population, particularly at micro-scales. It highlights and challenges key narratives of both Jewish and general interest relating to residential segregation, assimilation, partnership formation, exogamy and household living arrangements.
It presents a critical exploration of the dual ethnic and religious components of
Jewish identity, arguing that this ‘White’ group has become ethnically ‘invisible’ in
British identity politics and, as a consequence, is largely overlooked. In addition, the key socio-demographic processes relating to Jewish partnership formation are addressed and a critical assessment of data pertaining to the decline of marriage, the rise of cohabitation and the vexed topic of Jewish exogamy, is presented. The analysis culminates by linking each of these issues to the micro-geographical scale of the household and develops a critical assessment of this key unit of Jewish (re)production. Jewish population change is contextualised within the framework of the second demographic transition.
This deliberately quantitative study is designed to exploit a recent glut of data
relating to Jews in Britain. It interrogates specially commissioned tables from
Britain’s 2001 Census as well as four separate communal survey data sources. It
highlights and challenges recent geographical critiques of quantitative
methodologies by presenting a rigorous defence of quantification in post-‘cultural
turn’ human geography. It emphasises the importance and relevance of this fruitful shift in geographical thought to quantitative methods and describes the role quantification can now play in the discipline. Above all, it synthesises two disparate sets of literature: one relating to geographical work on identity and segregation, and the other to work on the identity, demography and cultural practices of Jews. As a result, this thesis inserts the largely neglected ethno-religious Jewish case into the broader geographical literature whilst developing a critical quantitative spatial agenda for the study of Jews.
Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2014
Abstract: During the 1990s, Jewish communal leaders in Britain reached a consensus that Jewish education, in the broadest sense, was the principal means of strengthening Jewish identity and securing Jewish continuity. This belief motivated considerable investment in communal intervention programs such as Jewish schools, Israel experience trips, and youth movements. Twenty years on, it is pertinent to ask whether, and to what extent, this intervention has worked. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research’s (JPR) 2011 National Jewish Student Survey contains data on over 900 Jewish students in Britain and presents an opportunity to empirically assess the impact such intervention programs may have had on respondents’ Jewish identity by comparing those who have experienced them with those who have not. Regression analysis is used to test the theory based on a set of six dimensions of Jewish identity generated using principal component analysis. The results show that after controlling for the substantial effects of Jewish upbringing, intervention has collectively had a positive impact on all aspects of Jewish identity examined. The effects are greatest on behavioral and mental aspects of socio-religious identity; they are far weaker at strengthening student community engagement, ethnocentricity, and Jewish values. Further, the most important intervention programs were found to be yeshiva and a gap year in Israel. Both youth movement involvement and Jewish schooling had positive but rather limited effects on Jewish identity, and short-stay Israel tours had no positive measurable effects at all. 

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