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February 24, 1984 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Jewish College Freshmen Differ from Counterparts

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NEW YORK — Jewish
college freshmen, whether
they entered college in
1969, 1971, or 1980, differed
consistently from their
non-Jewish counterparts in
a variety of ways, according
to an analysis just released
by the American Jewish
Committee.
Among the findings were

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such facts as "Jews entered
college younger, attended
colleges farther away from
home, came from more
prosperous homes, and had
better-educated parents,"
and "they were more active
artistically and literarily,
had higher academic aspi-
rations for themselves, held
more liberal views, and ex-
pressed higher self-esteem."
These conclusions, among
others, were drawn from an
analysis of three studies
commissioned by the
American Jewish Commit-
tee from the Higher Educa-
tion Research Institute of
the American Council on
Education.
The report includes
studies of attitudes in the
freshman class of 1969
and in the freshman class
of 1980, as well as a lon-
gitudinal study of the
freshman class of 1971
and the ways its attitudes
had changed by 1980. In
each case, the attitudes of
Jews were compared
with those of non-Jews in
the same class.
Among the topics were
religious preference, educa-
tional goals, expectations of
academic success, self-
assessment, personal val-
ues, career expectations,
political outlook, social out-
look, and attitudes toward
marriage and family.
On the matter of religious
preference, the studies
showed that Jewish
freshmen identify with
their parents' religious be-
liefs less than non-Jewish
freshmen do. However, it
was noted that another AJ-
Committee - sponsored
study found that "in later
life 'apostate' Jews came
back more than Protestants
and Catholics — to the
Jewish community, at any
rate, if not primarily to the
synagogue."
In the longitudinal study
of the 1971 freshmen class,
it was found that almost
two-thirds of the students
had gone on to earn a mas-
ter's degree. And among
Jews, almost one-third went
on to earn a doctorate, more
than twice as many as the
non-Jews.
In 1969, three percent
of Jewish women
freshmen said they in-
tended to study for ad-
vanced degrees. In 1980,
the number was more
than six times that figure.
For non-Jewish women,
the ratio of 1980 to 1969
was 2% to one.
When it came to personal
values, women put less
stress on financial success
than did men. However, the
freshmen of 1980 thought
financial success more im-
portant than did the adults
of 1980. There was also a
steep rise of those who
looked toward careers in
business, and a steep drop in
those who were considering
teaching.
The favorite career of the
adult men and women of
1980, especially Jewish
women, was business. How-
ever, more Jewish women
than Jewish men, and more
Jewish women than non-

Jews of either sex, chose ar-
tistic careers. More men
than women had become
doctors and engineers. In
law, however, Jewish
women outnumbered men.
"In political and social
matters, the attitudes and
outlooks of men and women
differed significantly," AJC
analyst Geraldine Rosen-
field added, pointing out
that as freshmen, Jewish
men and women were close
together in political out-

look, only a few percentage
points apart. In 1969, they
were somewhat more lib-
eral than middle-of-the-
road; in 1980, they were
more middle-of-the-road
than liberal.
"It is when we get the
adults of 1980 that Jewish
women stand out," Ms.
Rosenfield continued.
"The adult median for
Jewish and non-Jewish
men and for non-Jewish
women is middle-of-the-

road. The adult median
for Jewish women is lib-
eral."
"The sharpest contrast
between Jews and non-
Jews, both men and women,
is seen in the answers to
questions about abortion
and divorce," Ms. Rosen-
field commented. "In 1969.
and again in 1980, Jewish
freshmen favored liberal-
ized divorce laws by more
than 20 percent more than
non-Jewish freshmen."



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