Religious Diversity and Religious Participation in U.S. Jewish Communities

Ira M. Sheskin, Harriet J. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article examines variations in Jewish denominational identification (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Just Jewish) among fifty-five U.S. Jewish communities completing local Jewish community studies from 1993 through 2011. We relate these variations to levels of religious and ethnic participation, contributing to the literature on how and whether religious pluralism relates to religious and ethnic participation. First, five denominational clusters are created via k-means cluster analysis (high Orthodox; equal, except Orthodox; high Reform; high Reform/low Just Jewish; and high Just Jewish). We then examine differences in geographic and demographic factors and in levels of religious participation among these denominational clusters. Second, various indexes of Jewish denominational diversity (index of dissimilarity, Shannon Index, Simpson Index, and largest group) are developed. The relationship of the level of Jewish denominational diversity to religious and ethnic participation is explored. The basic finding is that more Jewish denominational diversity does result in higher levels of religious participation but not ethnic participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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