October 13, 2013
Despite having no direct familial or religious ties to Judaism, about 1.2 million Americans feel they have a “Jewish affinity,” with many reporting an attachment to Israel and a strong draw to Judaism’s cultural practices, according to new research.
A survey of American Jews, conducted by the Pew Research Center, also analyzed the nearly 0.5 percent of the U.S. population that consider themselves to be Jewish in some way, even though they belong to a religion other than Judaism and most have no Jewish ancestors or family members. [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]
On political matters, this cohort looks different from both secular and religious Jews. About 40 percent are politically conservative, compared with only 19 percent of Jews. Almost 42 percent of the “Jews by affinity” are Republican or Republican-leaning, compared with 41 percent Democratic or Democratic-leaning. In contrast, about 70 percent of Jews are affiliated with or lean toward the Democratic Party, with only 22 percent identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning.
This group of Jews by affinity is also strongly tied to the concept of Israel as the Jewish homeland — as strongly as those who are actually Jewish. They are also about as likely as American Jews to believe the United States doesn’t support Israel enough.