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.
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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.


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