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Jews in New York Reported by ‘fortune’ As Giving Vigor to the City

New York’s great Jewish population “gives to New York much of the dynamism and vigor that make the city unique among all cities on earth,” according to a survey published in the February issue of Fortune magazine.

The survey establishes that most of the 2,500,000 Jews living in New York and its suburbs are now native-born. All together, Jews make up about 27 percent of the city’s population. In the boroughs of Brooklyn and the Bronx, every third person is Jewish; in Queens, every fourth; and in Manhattan, every fifth.

This high proportion, according to Fortune, has given Jews in New York a sense of belonging to and participating in the community that is not possible for them in any other metropolis.

Although Jews add up to just over a quarter of the city’s population, they constitute more than 45 percent of the proprietor and managerial category and 33 percent of the professional and semi-professional categories. They also account for about 15 percent of New York’s civil servants.

New York’s Jewish population is well educated, the Fortune survey brings out. In the city, about 17 percent of Jews over eighteen have completed college, while only four percent of the non-Jews have. In the city’s elite high schools, established for gifted students, Jewish pupils are present in numbers far beyond their proportion of the school population. In the top three of these schools, Jewish students make up more than 70 percent of the total enrollment.

Spurred by Hitlerism and the postwar boom in religion, the Jews in New York have showed an increasing interest in their religion, says Fortune. In the 1930’s, only about one-third of them were enrolled as synagogue members; today probably half of the city’s Jews–and a great majority of those in the metropolitan suburbs–are affiliated with congregations.

In the city, enrollment in all kinds of Jewish schools is up about nine percent from 1951-52. Some 31,000 New York City children attend Jewish all-day schools all week long, receiving part-religious and part-secular instruction.

New York’s public school system began offering Hebrew as a modern language in 1929, and today some 4,000 boys and girls in 53 junior and senior high schools take courses, Fortune reports. Among languages taught. Hebrew now ranks fifth–trailing Spanish, French, Italian and German.

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