A Closer Look at the Minimally Involved Group

This will be the last post in a series offering an inside look at the five patterns of engagement as detailed in the 2017 Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study.

(You can find the others here, here, here, and here.)

The subject of today’s post is the Minimally Involved Group. While we have argued on these pages that the reports of a growing apathetic, unaffiliated, un-engaged core of Judaism have largely been exaggerated, there is naturally a demographic of whom those adjectives are indeed accurate. We have labeled this  demographic the “Minimally Involved.”

These are people who do nothing to nurture their Jewish identities. They don’t practice Jewish rituals, they don’t participate in Jewish community life, they don’t seek out Jewish cultural activities.

If they belong to the JCC – which 8% of them do – it is likely because it is convenient or accessible, not because of its Jewish content.

And the net effect? Ninety-three percent of this group intermarries. And the study found zero cases where children in Minimally Involved households were being raised Jewish. Talk about an at-risk demographic!

Still, not all hope is lost. We know what they DON’T do, but what DO they do?

Well, 10% of this demographic has a Passover Seder. Another 14% light Hanukkah candles.

And, perhaps, if there is one place to start in terms of connecting to this group, it revolves around Israel. Eleven percent of this demographic considers themselves very attached to Israel. And 56% read Israel news monthly or more.

This may be a cause OR an effect of programs like Birthright Israel and Honeymoon Israel. But, it certainly makes sense that the organized Jewish community is focusing on the Jewish Homeland to engage the un-engaged.

While we have wrapped up our in-depth look at the patterns of Jewish engagement in Pittsburgh, we are not done exploring the study in further detail.

Please check back regularly for more posts exploring the various demographics that comprise our Jewish community.

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