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Jewish Day School Study, 1993




Schiff, A. I., & Schneider, M. (2020, November 11). Jewish Day School Study, 1993.


During the last several decades, two opposing trends have been taking place. On the one hand, there has been growth in the Jewish day school movement. On the other, there has been a serious decline in Jewish supplementary school enrollment and a defection from Jewish life of growing numbers of Jews. These two opposing trends give rise to several questions including: What happens when intensive and extensive Jewish education confronts a world full of secular, intermixing and challenging modalities? What role does a Jewish day school experience play in Jewish continuity of its exponents?

This study seeks to assess the impact of Jewish all-day education. Questions such as the following are addressed: What kind of Jewish behavior do young adults who attend Jewish day schools exhibit? Do those who attended for longer periods of time demonstrate higher levels of Jewish observance and involvement? Is Jewish behavior of day school graduates related to things such as home background, Jewish camp experience, Israel visitation or study in Israel? What are the marriage patterns of graduates? Does a college education reduce the possibility that Jewish day school graduates will remain practicing Jews? In short, what is the Jewishness quotient of Jewish day school graduates who are at risk of losing their Jewish identity because of the lure of contemporary society?

The ARDA has added three additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 3667
Variables: 61
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Funded By

Irving Stone

Collection Procedures

Self-administered questionnaire

Sampling Procedures

The survey was administered to a purposive stratified sample of 8,536 graduates of 26 Jewish day schools in the United States. These included 16 institutions under centrist or modern Orthodox auspices, five under Conservative sponsorship, three trans-ideological communal schools, and two right-of-center Orthodox yeshivot. Orthodox sectarian "Litvish" yeshivot, Beth Jacob Schools, and Hasidic institutions (which together comprise about 40 percent of the total Jewish all-day school enrollment in North America) were not included in the study (with one exception) since their students and graduates, by and large, are not exposed to normative American societal influences.

The schools chosen were located in 19 communities: large and small Jewish localities in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Five elementary schools are in Greater New York; three in the Northeast; one in the South; and four in the Midwest. Eleven of the high schools are the secondary levels of educational institutions with kindergarten through 12th grade. Thus, the elementary school graduates of these institutions who did not continue in their education through high school are not included in this study.

The questionnaire was mailed to day school graduates who completed their elementary school education from 1965-1985 and high school graduates for the years 1970-1990.

A total of 3,020 questionnaires were mailed to the elementary school graduates, the number of known alumni of the 13 elementary schools. Five thousand five hundred and twenty six questionnaires were mailed to the high school alumni, about 60 percent of the randomly selected graduates of the 13 high schools.

Two thousand two hundred and seventy eight questionnaires, 75 percent of the total, were received by elementary school graduates; 4,095 of the high school alumni, 79 percent of the total, received them.

In all, 1,863 envelopes (742 sent to elementary school graduates and 1,121 mailed to high school alumni) were returned undelivered due to wrong or unknown addresses. A total of 6,673 questionnaires reached their destination. Three thousand six hundred seventy four completed questionnaires were returned, yielding a response rate of 55 percent.

Principal Investigators

Alvin I. Schiff
Mareleyn Schneider

Related Publications

Barak Fishman, S. and A. Goldstein. When They Are Grown They Will Not Depart: Jewish Education and the Jewish Behavior of American Adults. Waltham, MA, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University, 1993.

Bock, G. E. The Jewish Schooling of American Jews: A Study of Non-Cognitive Educational Effects. Doctoral Thesis, Harvard University, 1976.

Cohen, S.M. "The Impact of Jewish Education on Religious Identification and Practice," Jewish Social and Studies, July-October, 1974.

Dushkin, A.M. and U.Z. Engelman. Jewish Education in the United States. New York, American Association for Jewish Education, 1959.

Friedman, N. "The Graduates of Ramaz: Fifty Years of Jewish Day School Education," in (ed.) Jeffrey S. Gurock's Ramaz: School, Community, Scholarship and Orthodoxy. Hoboken, New Jersey, Ktav Publishing House,1989.

Goldstein, A. and S. Barak Fishman. Teach Your Children When They Are Young: Contemporary Jewish Education in the United States. Waltham,MA, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University, 1993.

Gordon, M. Assimilation in American Life. New York, Oxford University Press, 1964.

Hartman, E. "A Follow-Up Study of Graduates of Selected Hebrew Elementary Schools," Doctoral Thesis, Memphis State University, 1976.

Heimowitz, J. A Study of the Graduates of Flatbush Yeshiva High School. Doctoral Thesis, Yeshiva University, 1979.

Himmelfarb, H. The Impact of Religious Schooling: The Effect of Jewish Education upon Adult Religious Involvement. Doctoral Thesis, University of Chicago, 1974.

Himmellarb, H. "The Non-Linear Impact of Schooling: Comparing Different Types and Amounts of Jewish Education," Sociology of Education, Vol. 50, April, 1977.

Isaacs, L. (ed.) Trends: Report on Developments in Jewish Education for Community Leadership. Jewish Education Service of North America, 1992.

Kosmin, B., S. Goldstein, J. Waksberg, N. Lerer, A. Keysar, and J. Scheckner. Highlights of the CJF 1990 National Jewish Population Survey. New York, Council of Jewish Federations, 1991.

Lipset, S. "Education Findings from The Jewish Population Study," Council of Initiatives in Jewish Education, n.d.

Lookstein, J. "True Integration," Jewish Education, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter, 1978.

Mayer, E. Letter to the Editor, Jewish Week, November 13-19, 1992.

McMillan, M.M. and E. Gerald, "Characteristics of Private Schools: 1987-88," E.D. Tabs. Washington, D.C., National Center for Educational Statistics,April 1990.

Pinsky, I. A Follow-Up Study of Graduates of One of the Oldest Existing American Jewish Day Schools: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. Doctoral Thesis, Yeshiva University, 1961.

Pollak, G. The Graduates of The Jewish Day Schools: A Follow-Up Study. Doctoral Thesis, Case Western University, 1961.

Ribner, S. "Study of the Effects of Intensive Jewish Secondary Education on Adult Lifestyles," New York, American Association for Jewish Education, 1977.

Rimor, M. and E. Katz, Jewish Involvement of the Baby Boom Generation. Jerusalem, The Louis Guttman Israel Institute of Applied Social Research, November, 1993.

Schiff, A.I. The Jewish Day School in America New York, Jewish Education Committee Press, 1966.

Schiff, A.I. "Jewish Education: Problems, Prospects and the Challenge, Jewish Education, Vol. 45, No. 4, 1981.

Schiff, A.I. Jewish Education at the Crossroads: The State of Jewish Education. New York and Jerusalem, The Joint Program for Jewish Education in Conjunction with CJF, JWB and JESNA, 1983.

Schiff, A.I. Jewish Supplementary Schooling: A System in Need of Change. BJE of Greater New York, 1988.

Schneider, M. History of a Jewish Burial Society: An Examination of Secularization. San Francisco, Mellen Research University Press, 1991.

Schoem, D. Ethnic Survival in America: Ethnography of a Jewish Afternoon School. Doctoral Thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1979.

Shapiro, Z. From Generation to Generation: Does Jewish Schooling Affect Jewish Identification. Doctoral Thesis, New York University, 1988.

The Jewish Week, Advertisement: "$1,000,000 Jews Can Now Be Rescued Right Here in North America," November 6-12, 1992.

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