Jewish Demographic Study Reveals Drastic Need for Jewish Demographers

Small Count of People To Count Us

Bleak: Since its peak in the Truman-era, opportunity for Jewish demography water-cooler chat has become starkly limited.
courtesy of rabbi mrs. Steven M. Cohen
Bleak: Since its peak in the Truman-era, opportunity for Jewish demography water-cooler chat has become starkly limited.

By Rob Kutner

Published February 22, 2013, issue of February 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Backward is the Forward’s annual satirical Purim edition. Enjoy!

According to today’s late-mid-morning Jewish Population Survey (#4 out of the day’s 19), the field of Jewish demographers has rapidly dwindled to just Steven M. Cohen.

“I am lonely — so very, very lonely,” says Cohen, of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. “Sometimes I put an elbow-patched tan jacket and glasses on my chair and pretend I’m at a mobbed ‘Jewish demography conference,’ but the fantasy rarely lasts.”

It’s a critical problem, say community experts, because demographics are one of the only two bogeymen left to motivate Jews to do anything. “It’s intermarriage and the Holocaust,” says one source, “And let’s just say we’re running out of Oscar-winning documentary ideas.”

Social scientist Leonard Saxe of Brandeis sees the trends differently, however. “Steven’s research biases prevent him from painting an accurate picture. I agree with him that there is one Jewish demographer left, but my studies clearly show that it is me, not him.”

“Of course, the sample size means that we have a margin of error in the region of a minyan,” he continued. “I do find Cohen to be standing on firm ground regarding the loneliness, however,” he concluded. “I wish he’d come up for a bagel sometime.”

Cohen locates grounds for hope in Jewish tradition. “Our Sages say that if there’s only one Jew at the Pesach Seder, he should tell the story to himself. Likewise, I’m preparing a humdinger of a survey for me.” Cohen pledges to keep us posted on the results, potentially thousands of times.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.