The kids, after all, are alright — about Jewish identity, about intermarriage, about raising Jewish children.
At least the 4,000 millennials who use JSwipe as their dating app of choice.
Over the past few years, engaging millennials has been a top concern for many Jewish organizations. Those at the forefront of these efforts are often not members of Generation Y themselves yet speak for the demographic regarding issues such as intermarriage, Israel and Jewish faith. But now, thanks to a recent, non-scientific study of nearly 4,000 JSwipe users, the Jewish community is able to hear from millennials directly.
“There is all this worry about millennials, and I honestly see very little real, open and honest listening — just having a conversation with them,” David Yarus, founder of JSwipe, told The Jewish Week. “We did this project to give the generation a voice.”
The study, which was released last week, asked a blend of questions ranging from the open-ended to the psychometric (Likert scale) that asked for responses on a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest).
According to the study, “Millennials are said to be the least ‘traditionally religious’ generation in recent history.” Yet, according to the findings, 87 percent of participants responded that they practice Judaism in some form and 70 percent responded they support Jewish organizations.
On the topic of marriage, 80 percent of respondents expressed that it is important to marry someone Jewish. “I want my future kids to grow up with Jewish values and traditions which come from both parents,” one participant said. “Jewish is my identity. You can’t really understand me if you are not Jewish,” another explained. But 33 percent indicated that they felt positively about intermarriage. “If the couple is happy, then it’s good,” a respondent stated.
When it comes to personal Jewish identity, 81 percent of respondents said that it is important to them, and 67 percent said that Israel is important to their Jewish identity.
Although the data comes only from a subset of the population — those who use JSwipe — there are larger implications, Yarus claims. “The most exciting part for me is being able to quantify and visualize the various answers proportionately across the millennial Jewish experience,” he explained.
In fact, there was a range of participants. Regarding denomination, 23 percent of respondents self-identified as culturally Jewish, 22 percent as traditional, 16 percent Reform, 16 percent Conservative, 11 percent Modern Orthodox, 6 percent Orthodox, 2 percent Zionist, 1 percent just Jewish and 2 percent other. When it came to age, 26 percent fell between 18 and 24, 54 percent from 25 to 34, 18 percent were 35 to 54 and 2 percent were 55 to 64. Fifty-eight percent of survey participants identified as male, and responses came from 11 countries.
In the future, Yarus said he plans to conduct another study within the JSwipe community, this time focusing on the LGBTQ Jewish experience. But for now, he hopes that “these findings get into the hands of the leadership of all major Jewish organizations because this conversation is critical.”