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DEBATING IDENTITY: JEWS IN AMERICA

Snapshots of Jewish Life

DEBATING IDENTITY. Jews in America. Third in a four-part series

April 22, 1998

Why did you or your family choose to come to the U.S. rather than to Israel? (Asked of those who are immigrants or first generation born in U.S.)

There was no Israel then: 28%

Job opportunities: 16%

Had family in U.S.: 12%

Other reason: 11%

Fleeing Nazis: 7%

No particular reason: 6%

Safer/No fighting: 6%

Education: 4%

Came from Israel: 4%

Marriage: 1%

Don't know: 5%

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"The American Jews say, 'Why are you here?' You're supposed to be the warriors out there, the fighters for all of the diaspora . . . . there was really a kind of feeling of shame, that you deserted your country."

--Lili Hodis, a psychotherapist and Israeli immigrant

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These 10 metropolitan regions have the largest Jewish populations in the United States:

Metro Area: New York

Number of Jews: 1,937,000

% of Population: 10.6%

*

Metro Area: L.A. / Orange County

Number of Jews: 590,000

% of Population: 3.9%

*

Metro Area: Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

Number of Jews: 382,000

% of Population: 11.5%

*

Metro Area: Philadelphia

Number of Jews: 280,000

% of Population: 4.7%

*

Metro Area: Chicago

Number of Jews: 263,000

% of Population: 3.2%

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"My absolute biggest fear is that our children will lose our culture. They are experiencing things that in our wildest dreams didn't exist in Iran."

--Dariush Fakheri, editor of a Persian-language monthly magazine in Los Angeles

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This series examines key issues in American Jewish life.

Monday--Can Jewish identity survive the American dream?

Tuesday--American women remake ancient traditions.

Today--A new wave of immigration.

Thursday--The Jewish contribution to American culture.

HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED

The Times Poll contacted 848 American Jews nationwide by telephone March 8 through April 1. Telephone numbers were chosen from a list of all exchanges in the nation so that listed and unlisted numbers could be contacted. Seventy-three percent of the Jewish population lives within the top 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the nation, according to the 1997 Jewish American Yearbook. The sample was drawn in proportion to the Jewish population in these 10 regions, plus the rest of the nation. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points; for certain subgroups the error margin may be somewhat higher. Poll results can also be affected by factors such as question wording, the order in which questions are presented and the response rate.

Note: Numbers do not total 100% where more than one response was accepted or not all answer categories are shown.

Source: L.A. Times Poll

Times Poll results are also available on the World Wide Web at http:// www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLLS/

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