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Snapshots of Jewish Life

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

April 23, 1998

Have you been the victim of anti-Semitism or discrimination because you are Jewish?

No: 55%

Rarely: 23%

Sometimes: 15%

Often: 6%

Don't know: 1%


Is anti-Semitism a problem in the United States?

Very: 19%

Somewhat serious: 52%

Not much/No: 27%

Don't know: 2%


Over the next several years, do you think anti-Semitism in the U.S. will:

Increase: 23%

Remain the same: 53%

Decrease: 15%

Don't know: 9%


"In every society, the Jews are the people who say: 'Wait a minute. What you believe ain't necessarily so. Your idols aren't God.' And that makes us subversive; the ultimate Other."

--Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg


Virtually all positions of influence in the United States are open to Jews.

Agree: 56%

Disagree: 40%

Don't know: 4%


Do Jews in the U.S. have too much political power, about the right amount or too little?

Too much: 3%

Right amount: 60%

Too little: 26%

Don't know: 11%


"We don't know if it is true that the current comfort level of American Jewry is to be ever-lasting. We have no idea if a worse Auschwitz is around the corner. And we have no way of predicting that successfully."

--Rabbi Marvin Hier, Simon Wiesenthal Center


This series examines key issues in American Jewish life.

Monday--Can Jewish identity survive the American dream?

Tuesday--American women remake ancient traditions.

Wednesday--A new wave of immigration.

Today--The Jewish contribution to American culture.


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.

Source: L.A. Times Poll

Times Poll results are also available on the World Wide Web at http://

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