90% of All Jewish College Students in Sao Paulo Are Brazilian-born
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90% of All Jewish College Students in Sao Paulo Are Brazilian-born

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Ninety per cent of the Jewish university and college students in this city are Brazilian-born and, on the whole, show less interest in Jewish laws and tradition than their forebears, the results of a survey conducted here showed today.

The survey, first of its kind ever done here, had been sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. It was conducted under the supervision of Abraham Monk, Latin American director for the AJC; and Alfred Hirschberg, of the Brazilian-Jewish Institute for Culture and Information, It was based on a sample roster of Jewish students at all the institutions of higher learning here, including the State University, Mackenzie University and the Pontifical Universities of Sao Paulo.

Only eight per cent of the fathers of the Jewish students are Brazilian-born. The Jewish college students are less observant of Jewish tradition than are their fathers, only 50 per cent of them observing Yom Kippur against 73 per cent of the male parents. While seven per cent of the fathers observe Sabbath laws, only one per cent of their student sons do so. Among the fathers, 20 per cent have never attended synagogue services, while the same figure among the students rises to 27 per cent. In one respect, fathers and sons are alike–12 per cent of male parents and male offspring in college said they observe no Jewish religious traditions at all.


Among the Jewish college students, 63 per cent had received some “systematic” Jewish education, but only 29 per cent had attended Jewish schools. On the issue of inter-marriage, 39 per cent of the Jewish students said that “religion would not matter” when it came to marrying; 33 per cent considered mixed marriages “impossible”; and seven per cent had no definite opinion on the subject.

The survey painted a brighter picture in regard to the Jewish student’s attitude to Zionism and Israel. As many as 81 per cent of the Jewish students said they felt “some links” with Israel, while the remaining 19 per cent said they attached no special significance to Israel. Thirty-four per cent of the Jewish students declared themselves Zionists, 59 per cent said they were non-Zionist, and seven per cent had no definite opinion regarding Zionism.

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