Engaging with members of the Jewish community in Central Maryland is an essential way to gain a deeper understanding of their culture, traditions, and history. It is also a great opportunity to create connections between different faith communities. To start, it is important to engage young people in schools, communities, and the home to think broadly and critically about the Jewish experience. Recent surveys have revealed that a third of Jewish adults (32%) are first or second generation immigrants, including 20% who were born in Europe or had a parent born in Europe and 4% who are first or second generation immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa region (including Israel).
Additionally, 37% of younger Jewish adults say that they celebrate Shabbat in a way that makes it meaningful to them (although not necessarily in a way that follows Jewish law, such as abstaining from work). It is also important to commemorate the culture, traditions, and history of Asian-American and Pacific Islander peoples in the United States at school, communities, and home. This includes exploring Jewish practices and customs, including some traditional religious practices (such as synagogue attendance) and some more “Jewish cultural activities”. When engaging with members of the Jewish community, it is important to be aware of security concerns.
According to surveys, three out of ten Jewish adults under 30 (31%) say that “it wouldn't be at all important if their future grandchildren were Jewish”. Additionally, 10% of younger Jews say that they hesitated and decided not to participate in Jewish celebrations or events for security reasons. It is also important to be aware of harassment and physical attacks against Jews. Fewer people say that in the 12 months before the survey was conducted, they had been harassed on the Internet (8%) or physically attacked (5%) because they were Jewish.
When engaging with members of the Jewish community, it is also important to be aware that not all people who have a Jewish parent or were raised as Jews consider themselves Jewish today. In fact, according to surveys, a third of people raised as Jews or by Jewish parents are not Jewish today. This includes 19% who consider themselves Christian and those who do not identify themselves as Jews either by religion or apart from religion. When engaging with members of the Jewish community, it is also important to be aware of intermarriage rates.
Among Jewish respondents who married in the past decade, six out of ten say they have a non-Jewish spouse. The vast majority of adults who were raised with a Jewish background and who are now married to a Jewish spouse identify themselves as Jewish today (95%). Additionally, surveys have asked if Jews consider themselves Ashkenazi (following the Jewish customs of Central and Eastern Europe), Sephardic (following the Jewish customs of Spain), Mizrahi (following the Jewish customs of North Africa and the Middle East) or something else. Engaging with members of the Jewish community in Central Maryland is an important way to learn more about this diverse group and build bridges between different faith communities. By understanding their culture, traditions, history, security concerns, intermarriage rates, and more, members of other faith communities can better appreciate and engage with members of the Jewish community.