The 2000 American Rabbi Study

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Jewish > Summary


The data result from a mail survey of rabbis conducted in the fall and winter of 2000 in the four major movements of American Judaism—Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Reform. The first wave was sent two days before the presidential election. The data collection effort loosely paralleled the 2000 Cooperative Clergy Study format but differed in several important respects to capture concerns important to the Jewish community. The survey effort collected data on rabbi political activism, public political speech, political attitudes and electoral choices, thoughts on the role of religion in society, attitudes on issues related to Jewish unity and Jewish law, ratings of and membership in Jewish and secular political organizations, attitudes about Joseph Lieberman, and personal attributes, as well as aspects of congregations.

Data File
Cases: 402
Variables: 298
Weight Variable: WEIGHT
In 2000, there were 1,620 rabbis in the Reform movement (50.5 percent of the total number of 3,209), 781 (24.3%) Orthodox rabbis, 630 (19.6%) Conservative rabbis, and 178 (5.5%) Reconstructionist rabbis. The weight variable in the survey is based on knowing the population distribution (among the four included movements) and the distribution in the sample. The numerator is the population percentage and the denominator is the sample percentage, as follows: For Reconstructionist rabbis, the weight is 5.5/12.0; for Reform rabbis, the weight is 50.5/52.9; for Conservative rabbis, the weight is 19.6/18.0'; and for Orthodox rabbis, the weight is 24.3/17.2
Data Collection
Date Collected: Fall of 2000
Funded By
The data collection effort was funded by the Denison University Research Foundation and the Association for the Sociology of Religion.
Collection Procedures
The data were collected from a self-administered survey, sent by mail.
Sampling Procedures
The population consisted of membership directories gathered in 2000 from the rabbinical organizations representing four Jewish movements in the United States: Reform (Central Conference of American Rabbis), Conservative (Rabbinical Assembly), Orthodox (Rabbinical Council of America), and Reconstructionist (Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association).

Almost half (1,579 out of 3,209) of the rabbis listed as living in the United States for the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements were randomly sampled along with the entire list of Reconstructionist rabbis. The overall response rate was 25.4% (402), though the response varied by movement: Orthodox (18%), Reconstructionist (27%), Conservative (23%), and Reform (26%). Two reminder waves including surveys were sent.
Principal Investigators
Paul A. Djupe, Department of Political Science, Denison University, Granville, OH
Related Publications
Djupe, Paul A. and Anand E. Sokhey. 2003. “The Mobilization of Elite Opinion: Rabbi Perceptions of and Responses to Anti-Semitism.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42(3): 443-454.

Djupe, Paul A. and Anand E. Sokhey. 2003. “American Rabbis in the 2000 Elections.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42(4): 563-576.

Sokhey, Anand E. and Paul A. Djupe. 2004. “American Rabbis.” In Corwin Smidt, ed. Pulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.

Sokhey, Anand E. and Paul A. Djupe. 2006. “Rabbi Engagement with the Peace Process in the Middle East.” Social Science Quarterly 87(4): 903-923.
Note 1
For the variable NVLVDGRP the movement that the rabbi belonged to was listed instead of the word [MOVEMENT]. The four movements are Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform.
Note 2
For the variable SERVE, non-congregational rabbis were encouraged to skp questions about congregations, but since the investigators wanted to record their experiences, however, they were encouraged to answer as many questions as applicable to them.
Note 3
For the variables ISSUEPA, ISSUEFA, ISSUEPB, ISSUEFB, ISSUEPC, ISSUEFC, ISSUEPD, ISSUEFD, ISSUEPE, ISSUEFE, ISSUEPF, ISSUEFF, ISSUEPG, ISSUEFG, ISSUEPH, ISSUEFH, ISSUEPI, ISSUEFI, ISSUEPJ, ISSUEFJ, ISSUEPK, ISSUEFK, ISSUEPL, ISSUEFL, ISSUEPM, ISSUEFM, ISSUEPN, ISSUEFN, ISSUEPO, ISSUEFO, ISSUEPP, ISSUEFP, ISSUEPQ, ISSUEFQ, ISSUEPR, ISSUEFR, ISSUEPS, ISSUEFS, ISSUEPT, ISSUEFT, ISSUEPU, ISSUEFU, ISSUEPV, ISSUEV, ISSUEPW, ISSUEFW, ISSUEPX, ISSUEFX, ISSUEPY, AND ISSUEFY the researcher must discern a way to provide the zeroes for those who have not engaged in the activity, so two variables were created. The first variable is coded 1 if the respondent has ever engaged in the activity, and the second variable gauges how often the respondent engaged in the activity in the past year. Therefore, each activity has two variables.
Note 4
For the Orthodox rabbis, the question "What is your gender?" was not asked. These rabbis were coded as 2) male for the variable GENDER.
Note 5
For the variables ADLTMEM and TOTLMEM, the question was "How many adult members are there in your congregation? Total members?" The first response is assigned to the ADLTMEM variables, as the response to adult members and the second response to the TOTLMEM variable, as the total members of the congregation.
Note 6
For the variables ADLTED1, ADLTED2, ADLTED3, ADLTED4, ADLTED5, ADLTED6, ADLTED7, ADLTED8, ADLTED9, ADLTED10, ADLTED11, ADLTED12, the responses are coded from the question "Has your synagogue held adult education sessions about any of the follow?" Since the question allowed for multiple answers from the same respondent, the responses were coded in the order the items were circled, so ADLTED1 has the most responses, and ADLTED12 has the least.
Note 7
For the variable MOVEMENT, this is not the self-identified movement of the rabbi, but the movement list the prinicipal investigator got the rabbi's address from.