who you knew affects how you Jew—the impact of Jewish networks in childhood upon adult Jewish identity
Researchers have solidly demonstrated the impact of several forms of Jewish education upon several expressions of adult Jewish identity, even after taking parental and other background variables into account. This chapter examines the impact of Jewish social networks (in-married parent and high school Jewish friends) upon adult identity outcomes, alongside parents and Jewish education. Drawing upon the 2000–2001 National Jewish Population Study, conducted in the United States, the analysis demonstrates the powerful long-term effects of pre-adult Jewish social networks. The magnitude of effects rivals that of several forms of Jewish education, formal and informal, taken together. They are particularly pronounced with respect to in-marriage and forming Jewish friendships in adulthood. The powerful effects of Jewish social networks argue for educators and educational policymakers recognizing and valuing the bestowal of Jewish friendships as an explicit act of Jewish education. In the twenty-first century, Jewish education needs to understand, utilize, and nurture the power of Jewish social networks to inhabit, express, and sustain various forms of Jewish involvement.
Cohen, S.M. , Veinstein, (2011)., Jewish identity: who you knew affects how you Jew—the impact of Jewish networks in childhood upon adult Jewish identity, in H. Miller, L. Grant & A. Pomson (eds.), International handbook of Jewish education, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 203-218.
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