A Look at the Connection Between Judaism and Higher Education

Jacqueline Firsty grew up going to temple with her dad almost every Shabbat and celebrated the High Holidays with her grandparents every year. Judaism is such a significant part of her self-identity she even wrote about the impact being Jewish had on her life in her college applications.

Still, when looking at schools, Jewish life wasn’t something that she factored into her decision. Firsty explains, “I went to a public school where I was one of the only Jewish students, and at my own temple I was the only person my age. So, I never had a Jewish group of peers, like my own age.”

Because of this, being surrounded by Jewish peers was not something she went looking for as a part of her college life. And she isn’t alone in her experiences as a young Jewish American. In speaking on the affluence of the Jewish people, Alan Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard University, claims that, “a Jew today can live in any neighborhood,” which creates small communities within cities and towns.

In looking at the religions of college-educated adults in the US, the numbers closely reflect the religious breakdown of the overall population. Per the Pew Research Center, only 3 percent of college graduates in the US are Jewish, while 66 percent are Christian. Compared to the percentages of Jews and Christians in the total population, 1.8 percent and 70.6 percent respectively, these numbers are relatively close. The percentages for other religions follow a similar story.

Data from Pew Research Center

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