Surveys among Rabbis and Rabbinical Students in the US

Recent surveys among Rabbis and Rabbinical students suggest a new narrative, in which there are several ideological and generational gaps’ concerns. In this post, I succinctly review main findings from the 2011 Rabbis and Rabbinical students’ surveys.

Six years ago, Madoff was charged by federal prosecutors with orchestrating a $50 billion fraud. Interestingly, Maddof graduated at the prestigious Yeshiva University, as reported by the New York Times ( This type of news alerted scholars about stereotypical portraits that do not reflect the new narrative in which Rabbis and Rabbinical students are living at the present.

In a very recent survey administered in 2011 among the Rabbis and senior students – those student who reported an intention to graduate before 2016-, 317 Rabbis and 51 Rabbinical students answered the 2011 Surveys of JTS Ordained Rabbis and Current Students. A response rate of 52 percent seems to be a good indicator. Rabbis initially invited were 626, and senior students initially invited were 80. They responded an online survey collected between June and August of 2011 at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.

Social media, as expected, it is a fertile land for generational gaps. Recently ordained Rabbis and senior students are online new consumers via facebook, 52 and 69 percent, respectively, as opposed to 27 percent of senior Rabbis.

Interestingly, 67 percent of students are worried about treatment of Palestinians, in contrast to 58 percent of recently ordained rabbis and 51 percent of senior Rabbis. Along the same lines, 51 percent of senior Rabbis perceive that Palestinians seek Israel destruction, in contrast to 36 percent of new rabbis and 30 percent of students who also hold a similar perception.

In addition, 79 percent of senior Rabiis also believe that blame regarding pace agreements is on Palestinian side, as opposed to 56 and 44 percent of new Rabbis and students, respectively. The long report, written by Steven M. Cohen is available at

Regarding gender, 57 percent of senior Rabbis are worried about how women are treated in Israeli society, in contrast to 65 and 63 of new Rabbis and current students. This generational gap on gender issues is less pronounced, but still, it is likely to exist.

Finally, there is an additional divide along the ideological continuum from the left wing to the right-of-center wing, in which arguably, the right-of-center wing’s main concern is security, whereas the left wing is mainly worried about social justice. In sum, the JTS Ordained Rabbis and Current Students Surveys are a valuable material when analyzing the Rabbis and Rabbinical students, in which social media, specifically facebook, matter among the youth.

About Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

Professor, School of Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey. PhD in Political Science at Vanderbilt University. [religion and politics, R, surveys, electoral management bodies] Twitter: @alejdiazd View all posts by Alejandro Diaz Dominguez

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