Muslims at a prayer service celebrating Eid-al-Fitr in Stamford, Conn., on June 25. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

American Muslims intermarry way less and are far more religious than American Jews

Since it came out in 2013, the “Pew study” — a landmark survey of American Jewish demographics, beliefs and practices — has been at the center of American Jewish scrutiny and handwringing.

Now it’s American Muslims’ turn.

On Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a survey of American Muslims focusing not only on numbers and their way of life, but also on how the community has responded to the election of President Donald Trump.

Comparing the two studies shows a Muslim sector in America that is more religious, growing faster and feels more embattled than American Jews. But both groups voted for Hillary Clinton.

Here’s how the Jews and Muslims of the United States stack up.

There are more Jews than Muslims in America, but the Muslim population is growing faster.

Pew found that there are about 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, a little more than 1 percent of the population. U.S. Jews, by contrast, stand at 6.3 million — around 2 percent of all Americans.

But Muslims, Pew found, skew younger and have higher birth rates. More than a third of U.S. Muslims are under 30, only 14 percent are over 55 and their birth rate is 2.4, slightly higher than the national average. Most American Jews are over 50 and their birth rate is 1.9. While the median age of U.S. Muslims is 35, the median age of U.S. Jews is 50. Americans in general have a median age of 47.

These numbers explain why a 2015 Pew study found that by 2050, American Muslims will outnumber American Jews. While the Jewish population is expected to stagnate at about 5.4 million, Pew predicts that in a little more than three decades, there will be 8 million Muslims in America.

The respective studies also included some data unique to each religion. While there are sharp internal divides between Shia and Sunni Muslims, Pew did not address the question of “who is a Muslim” as it did with Jewish Americans.

The study reported demographic data that may contradict popular American stereotypes of Muslims. Only 14 percent of Muslim immigrants are from the Middle East, while one-fifth are from South Asia. And the plurality of American Muslims — four in 10 — are white.

Only 13 percent of American Muslims are intermarried.

When Pew released its study of the Jews in 2013, American Jewish leaders began fretting about an intermarriage rate of 58 percent since 2000 — and they haven’t stopped. By that measure, American Muslim leaders can rest easy.

Unlike the majority of American Jews, only 13 percent of American Muslims are intermarried. And the number has declined in recent years: In 2011, the number was 16 percent. The numbers are so low that the word “intermarriage” doesn’t even appear in the survey.

But another statistic shows that American Muslims may be following their Jewish neighbors. Among Muslims born in the U.S., the intermarriage rate is nearly 20 percent.

Most Jews say they don’t face discrimination. Most Muslims say they do.

Another reason for the difference in intermarriage rates could be the discrimination that Jews and Muslims each face in America. Jews, who are more likely to marry outside their group, are also more accepted in America than Muslims.

In an age when Trump the candidate called for a ban on Muslim immigration, the Muslim study focused heavily on Muslim feelings of discrimination and belonging in America. Questions were asked about Islamophobia, anti-Muslim violence, the president, terrorism, extremism and how Muslims feel about being Muslim and American.

In brief, the study found that nearly half of Muslims have faced discrimination in the past year, and 75 percent feel Muslims face a great deal discrimination in America. But nine in 10 feel proud to be American. Three-quarters of American Muslims say violence against civilians can never be justified, as opposed to 59 percent of Americans in general.

In 2013, most Jews said that Jews do not face a lot of discrimination in America, and only 15 percent personally faced discrimination in the year before the survey.

But Pew’s Jewish study was published three years before the spike in anti-Semitism that accompanied the 2016 election. A poll by the Anti-Defamation League published in April revealed starkly different numbers, showing that most Americans were concerned about violence against Jews.

Jews graduate college at higher rates than Muslims and earn more.

The graduation rates and household incomes of American Muslims track with the rest of the country. Like Americans in general, 31 percent of Muslim Americans have graduated college. And a quarter of Muslim Americans earn more than $100,000, similar to the national average. But 40 percent of Muslim households earn less than $30,000 — eight points higher than Americans in general.

Nearly six in 10 American Jews, meanwhile, have graduated college. And 42 percent have household incomes higher than $100,000, while only 20 percent earn less than $30,000.

Muslims are far more religious than Jews, but both say social justice is central.

American Jews and Muslims are particularly different when it comes to religion. While nearly two-thirds of American Muslims say religion is very important to them, only a quarter of Jews do. A third of Jews believe in God, compared to 85 percent of Muslims who said belief in God is essential to being a Muslim. Nearly six in 10 American Muslims say following the Quran is essential to being a Muslim, compared to less than a quarter of American Jews who say the same about Jewish law.

Four in 10 American Muslims attend mosque at least once a week and eight in 10 observe the monthlong fast of Ramadan. By contrast, two-thirds of American Jews attend synagogue less than once a month and only about half fasted on Yom Kippur.

But there are some commonalities, too. Nearly all American Jews and Muslims say they are proud to be Jewish and Muslim, respectively. And both groups prioritize social justice. Solid majorities of Jews (60 percent) and Muslims (69 percent) see “working for justice and equality” as an essential part of their religious identity.

Jews are more liberal than Muslims, but a higher percentage voted for Trump.

American Muslims responded to Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail by voting for Clinton. Nearly 80 percent of American Muslims voted for the Democrat, while only 8 percent backed Trump. By contrast, Clinton earned 70 percent of the Jewish vote, with Trump garnering 25 percent.

But proportionally more American Jews identify as liberal than do American Muslims. While nearly half of American Jews call themselves liberal, only 30 percent of American Muslims do — close to the national average.

But Muslims are trending liberal on at least one issue: A majority believe homosexuality should be accepted in society, compared to just 27 percent who felt that way a decade ago. Four-fifths of American Jews agree.

Calendar November 30-December 6



A Chanukah miracle couldn’t hurt as the Clippers face off against the top-ranked Indiana Pacers. Stephen S. Wise Temple’s Cantor Nathan Lam opens the game with the singing of the national anthem. There will also be a menorah lighting, a Q-and-A session with rabbis and a special halftime performance by the Body Poets. Add in kosher food and a free T-shirt, and this Chanukah celebration is bound to be a slam-dunk. Sun. 10:30 a.m. (pre-game warm-ups), 12:30 p.m. (game time).  $20-$62. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown. (213) 742-7503. ” target=”_blank”>



Monday marks the beginning of a weeklong look at Middle East musical dialogues. There will be public performances, master classes, panel discussions and, of course, music. Some of the significant names sprinkled throughout the week are: Thaer Bader, Mohammed Fairouz, David Krakauer, David Lefkowitz and Betty Olivero. All have made a contribution to the unique conversation of Arab-Israeli fusion. Mon. Various times. Through Dec. 8. $30-$60 (general), $15 (UCLA Students). Various locations in UCLA area. (818) 716-6211. TUE | DEC 3


Shalom and ¡Hola! The L.A. Jewish Symphony Educational Outreach Program is hosting a concert that explores the music and historical cultures of our Spanish ancestors. Led by Cantor Marcelo Gindlin, there will be song, dance and a celebration of Sephardic and Latino music pieces. Student-created artwork will also be exhibited to contribute to an already creative atmosphere. Reservations required. Tue. 11 a.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 436-5260. ” target=”_blank”>


Like any pair of siblings, American Jews and Israelis don’t always have a seamless relationship. But unlike you and your brother or sister, it is crucial to the future of Judaism that we understand the tensions, connections and in-betweens of the two largest Jewish populations in the world. American Jewish University hosts a panel discussion that illuminates how we can strengthen a sometimes-weakening bond. Panelists include Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) Jewish social policy professor Steven M. Cohen, Middlebury College international studies professor Theodore Sasson, HUC-JIR contemporary Jewish studies professor Sarah Bunin Benor and Gil Ribak, director of the Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $10. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777. THU | DEC 5


East Side Jews is going global. Join your favorite irreverent collection of Jews as they shoo away the darkness with a dreidel tournament, drinks and nosh, and stories you wont want to miss from Justine Barron, Matthew Irving Epstein, Josh Feldman, Jessie Kahnweiler and Raimy Rosenduft. For those of you interested in human rights, the evening will also feature Guatemalan human rights activist Claudia Samayoa. Thu. 7:30 p.m. $18. Pico Union Project, 1153 Valencia St., Los Angeles. ” target=”_blank”>



The world-renowned orchestra is making a house call (sort of). Leaving its home base downtown, the L.A. Phil is migrating West. Playing in the beautiful and newly remodeled sanctuary, the evening features a special performance of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak. So whether you are interested in Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 or you are simply sick of Disney Hall, it will be an intimate and unforgettable evening of music. Fri. 8 p.m. $50-$150. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Erika J. Glazer Family Campus, 3663 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 835-2198.

7 Days in the Arts

Saturday the 7th

Take a stroll for a good cause at today’s 14th annual Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. More than 100 teams are scheduled for the 5K recreational walk around Hollywood Park racetrack, and those wishing to register today are also welcome. Also ambling are celebrities Peter Gallagher, David Hyde Pierce, Leeza Gibbons and Lea Thompson.

7 a.m. (registration), 8:30 a.m. (opening ceremonies), 8:45 a.m. (warm up). 9 a.m. (walk). 10:15 a.m.-noon (health expo, live entertainment, celebrity autographs and prizes). 1050 S. Prairie Ave., Inglewood. (323) 930-6228.

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Monday the 9th

Sneak behind the curtain into the life of Pulitzer and Tony award-winning playwright Tony Kushner in the new documentary, “Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner.” Following the writer from just after Sept. 11, 2001 to the 2004 presidential election, cameras captured Kushner’s work on the Broadway musical, “Caroline, or Change.” and the children’s Holocaust opera, “Brundibar,” as well as his “humor, ambition, vision and dazzling braininess,” according to Newsweek.

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Jewish Renewal leader Rabbi Shefa Gold debuts her first book, “Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land,” this month. Described as an approach for using the Torah as a path for spiritual growth, the text has been praised by Renewal leaders like Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Gold visits Los Angeles this week, offering workshops in conjunction with the release. Tonight, she is at B’nai Horin/Children of Freedom.

Oct. 10: (310) 441-4434 or e-mail

For other workshop dates, visit ” TARGET=”_blank”>

Thursday the 12th

Storytelling for grownups comes courtesy of UCLA Live this week. “The Moth,” a New York storytelling organization, comes west for a night at Royce Hall titled, “Out on a Limb: Stories From the Edge.” The show of real-life narratives will include host Andy Borowitz (creator of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Jonathan Ames (author, “Wake Up Sir!”), comedian Margaret Cho, Cindy Chupak (writer and executive producer, “Sex and the City”), RUN DMC’s Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Steve Osborne (retired NYPD lieutenant).

8 p.m. $25-$35. Royce Hall, UCLA, Westwood. (310) 825-2101. ” target = “_blank”>Loudon Wainwright III (photo below), read theirs tonight.

7:30 p.m. $8-$15. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (866) 468-3399.

Goldberg’s List

Jewish Americans are only 2 percent of the nation’s population, but they are 25 percent of its problem.

That’s according to Bernard Goldberg, whose new, bestselling nonfiction book is called, “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is No. 37).”

The book offers one- and two-page mini-attacks on people who, Goldberg writes, “are not only screwing things up in this country, but who often are wildly succeeding by screwing things up.”

The way I see it, if Goldberg could take the time and trouble to list these people, the least that I, the Jewish journalist, could do is count the Jews among them.

I came up with 25.

So there are 25 American Jews who, in Goldberg’s words, produce “a slow poison running through the veins of this great country.”

The screed of this scribe has a history. Every couple of years, Goldberg releases a new book attacking liberals in America. His first was called, “Bias,” and it was a fun read, because the author had been a CBS News correspondent, and had scores to settle and grudges to nurse.

His second, “Arrogance,” I didn’t read — it was beneath me — and this new one continues the same general line: political, media and entertainment elites, spurred on by the liberal-educational complex, have debased and coarsened American culture.

The book is a bestseller — No. 2 on and climbing the New York Times list — and Goldberg is out flogging it everywhere. Droning on through droopy jowls, working himself up into a kind of lackadaisical outrage about Barbra Streisand and Howard Stern, Goldberg is the thinking man’s Deputy Dawg.

He wags a finger at radio pioneer Stern, though he is quick to say he opposes media censorship. His cover promises a full frontal attack on Franken, who took apart “Bias” for factual inaccuracy, but Goldberg doesn’t marshal anything more than a fictional conversation between himself and the Air America host.

His indictment of Michael Moore, who ranks No. 1 on the list, consists of a full-page photo of Moore and a single quote.

Most of the nonliberals who make the list — there are five — either broke the law or killed someone.

“The Unknown American Terrorist” is No. 23. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is No. 8.

Serious, thoughtful work this book is not.

So which Jews make the list?

Other than Franken, Streisand and Stern, there is billionaire Democrat George Soros; activist Laurie David; schlock hosts Jerry Springer and Maury Povich; professors Eric Foner, Jonathan Kozol, Peter Singer and Noam Chomsky; right-wing talk show host Michael Savage; director Oliver Stone; “Vagina Monologue” author Eve Ensler; Norman Mailer; feminists Gloria Steinem and Linda Hirshman; Nation writer Katha Pollitt; Interscope’s Ted Field; “Fear Factor” producer Matt Kunitz; New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, and columnist Krugman; Barbara Walters; NBC News president Neal Shapiro; and ABC News president David Westin.

Of course, Goldberg makes nothing of the fact that these people happen to be Jewish. It’s possible that no one but me will notice. It’s not like anyone can accuse a middle-aged author named Goldberg who lives in Miami of being an anti-Semite. You might even say it’s a good thing that someone can publish a best-selling diatribe listing more than two dozen Jews who are poisoning the American bloodstream and not one crackpot picks up on it.

Well, not quite.

Goldberg’s callings-out turn up quite frequently on the Web sites of white supremacists and anti-Semitic hate groups. Even nutjobs need validation, and who more authoritative than a man named Goldberg to assure the hatemongers that, yes, if the whole, anti-American entertainment and media elite seems Jewish, it’s because it is.

Take this from “The Zionist domination of the media has been repeatedly proven, and this domination is evident in both the electronic and print media. The commonality of “news” reporting in all the news media, to include major leading newspapers and both network and cable TV journalism, was definitively exposed in Bernard Goldberg’s two best-selling books: ‘Bias’ and ‘Arrogance.'”

Just wait until they read the new book: It’s the same ideas with twice as many Jewish names.

Another web hate site,, either rips Goldberg off or just happened to arrive at a similar revelation: It lists the same Jewish media execs he does, like Shapiro and Westin.

Goldberg isn’t responsible for the delusions of others. But his list, which he calls, at the end of his book, “the fun part,” is not without its risks. A just-released study in Britain found anti-Semitic actions among the general population on the rise — some42 precent in 2004. In times of social upheaval and terror, people look to scapegoats, and simple-minded lists — especially ones weighted so heavily to one minority group — are ready-made red flags.

Some fun.


Love, Jewish-American Style

Despite the abundance of Jewish filmmakers in the entertainmentindustry, Jewish Americans fall somewhere ahead of Asian-Americansand well below Anglo- and African-Americans as a group represented oncelluloid. And no one is more aware of that than film historian andauthor Harry Medved, whose “Cinema Beshert: Meeting Your Mate at theMovies” film series at the University of Judaism focuses on love,Jewish-American style.

Medved, 36, got the idea for the program after a screening of”Crossing Delancey” two years ago attracted a high quotient ofsingles. “An impromptu social hour followed…and we realized, what aconcept,” says Medved, who promptly created Cinema Beshert “to showsome great films about Jewish single life and invite filmmakers tospeak on Judaism and the dating scene, [followed by] informalmatchmaking after the screening.”

The UJ has been delightfully surprised by Cinema Beshert’ssuccess. For a recent screening of Julie Davis’ “I Love You! Don’tTouch Me!” — the tale of a 28-year-old neurotic Jewish girl’s searchfor a nice Jewish boy — 110 students attended despite littlepublicity.

Since then, Medved’s program, which appeals to the twenty- tothirtysomething set, has taken off. Upcoming films include “AmericanMatchmaker,” a 1940 Yiddish-language romance; “Carpati,” a compellingdocumentary produced by Emmy-winner David Notowitz, who retracesJewish heritage in the Ukraine; and the ever-popular “Diner,” BarryLevinson’s 1982 directing debut, which launched the careers of Jewishtalent (Steve Guttenberg, Paul Reiser and Ellen Barkin, amongothers).

A scene from”Carpati,” screening Feb. 22. Producer David Notowitz is scheduled toappear.

“These films are not only about people looking for soul mates butlooking for soul…young Jews returning to tradition,” says Medved.

Adding zing to these Sunday-evening screenings is the presence ofartists to discuss their involvement in the films. Past guests haveincluded director Paul Mazursky, composer Elmer Bernstein, and actorElliott Gould. Among the upcoming guests: Screenwriter Robert Avrechwill speak about “A Stranger Among Us.”

“We also include some wonderful short subjects unavailableanywhere else,” says Medved, “including Lewis Schoenbrun’s ‘TheGolem’ and David Frankel’s Oscar-winning short, ‘Dear Diary.'”

In the future, Medved envisions bringing Cinema Beshert to othercities.

In the broader sense, he would also like to see Hollywood depictmore positive images of Jewish women.

“It’s so rare when you stumble upon a sexy Jewish female in afeature film, like Alicia Silverstone in ‘Clueless.’ That wasdirected by a Jewish woman, but I’m looking forward to the day whenwe’ll see [positive Jewish female characters] in a film directed by aJewish man.”

For now, Medved is content to see the romance on screen at hisfilm series stimulating some real-life beshert off screen. “Severalcouples are dating as a result of this class. My only request is thatI get invited to their weddings.”

Cinema Beshert: Meeting Your Mate at the Movies screens onSundays, from 6:45 to 9:45 p.m., Feb. 1 through March 15. For moreinformation, contact the University of Judaism at (310) 476-9777,ext. 246.