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Who is a Jew in 21st century America? Is
membership in “the tribe” defined by shared religious beliefs? Common
ethnic backgrounds? Familiar holiday practices? Similar tastes in
culture and cuisine? And what do the widely varying answers to those
questions mean for the future of the American Jewish community?

2013, at the suggestion of Jewish Daily Forward editor Jane Eisner, the
Pew Research Center completed the most comprehensive and credible
survey ever conducted among American Jews. Its findings were nothing
short of astounding to communal leaders, demographers and individual
Jews alike.

In this new e-book, the venerable Forward – the
premier source of news, analysis and cultural coverage that matters to
the American Jewish community – explains and analyzes the Pew report,
with contributions from its own journalists and a diverse selection of other experts.

sobering and sometimes even amusing, this accessible collection of
articles and essays will inform and enlarge the critical conversation
among American Jews about their communal future.

Includes a
helpful discussion guide
for educators, community and book groups, and
leaders of Jewish organizations.
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About the author

The Jewish Daily Forward ( is the premier source of news, analysis and cultural coverage that matters to the American Jewish community, providing outstanding independent journalism, every day. To receive our free, daily e-newsletters, visit 

Elka Abrahamson is president of the Wexner Foundation.

Sarah Bunin Benor is an associate professor of contemporary Jewish studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.

Steven M. Cohen is a research professor of Jewish social policy at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.

Sergio DellaPergola is a professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Jane Eisner is the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Daily Forward.

Dan Friedman is the managing editor of the Jewish Daily Forward.

J.J. Goldberg, Editor-at-Large for the Forward, is the author of "Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment." His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review and elsewhere.

Bethamie Horowitz is a research professor at New York University. She directed the 1991 New York Jewish Population Study.

Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Jewish Daily Forward.

Carla Naumburg is a writer, clinical social worker and mother. She is a contributing editor for, and is writing a book on mindful parenting.

Leonard Saxe is Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis University and the director of the Steinhardt Social Research Institute.

Martyna Starosta is the digital media producer for the Forward.

Alan Wolfe is a professor of political science and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

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1 total

Additional Information

The Forward Association, Inc.
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Published on
Oct 14, 2013
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History / Jewish
Social Science / Demography
Social Science / Jewish Studies
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Content Protection
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The Associated Press calls them "The Entitlement Generation," and they are storming into schools, colleges, and businesses all over the country. They are today's young people, a new generation with sky-high expectations and a need for constant praise and fulfillment. In this provocative new book, headline-making psychologist and social commentator Dr. Jean Twenge documents the self-focus of what she calls "Generation Me" -- people born in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Herself a member of Generation Me, Dr. Twenge explores why her generation is tolerant, confident, open-minded, and ambitious but also cynical, depressed, lonely, and anxious.

Using findings from the largest intergenerational study ever conducted -- with data from 1.3 million respondents spanning six decades -- Dr. Twenge reveals how profoundly different today's young adults are -- and makes controversial predictions about what the future holds for them and society as a whole. But Dr. Twenge doesn't just talk statistics -- she highlights real-life people and stories and vividly brings to life the hopes and dreams, disappointments and challenges of Generation Me.With a good deal of irony, humor, and sympathy she demonstrates that today's young people have been raised to aim for the stars at a time when it is more difficult than ever to get into college, find a good job, and afford a house -- even with two incomes. GenMe's expectations have been raised just as the world is becoming more competitive, creating an enormous clash between expectations and reality. Dr. Twenge also presents the often-shocking truths about her generation's dramatically different sexual behavior and mores.

GenMe has created a profound shift in the American character, changing what it means to be an individual in today's society. Engaging, controversial, prescriptive, and often funny, Generation Me will give Boomers new insight into their offspring, and help GenMe'ers in their teens, 20s, and 30s finally make sense of themselves and their goals and find their road to happiness.
Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. Social media has become the dominant force in young people's lives, and each day seems to bring another shocking tale of private pictures getting into the wrong hands, or a lament that young people feel compelled to share their each and every thought with the entire world. Have smartphones and social media created a generation of self-obsessed egomaniacs? Absolutely not, Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book. And, she says, these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing. Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with--what they really want to talk about--is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online--not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship. While much of the public's attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them.
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