Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



Both family and religion are important to a large majority of the population in the United States. In the last few decades, research on religious families has significantly increased. Empirical research on Jewish families, however, is scant. The purpose of this study is to explore contemporary American Jewish family life in relation to Judaism, both cultural and religious. Specifically, the two primary objectives of this study are 1) to examine how Jewish culture and religion may influence and shape Jewish family life; and 2) to examine how family relationships may influence observance of Jewish cultural or religious traditions. This reciprocal dynamic between family and Jewish culture and religion was examined by focusing on involvement in the Jewish community, the espousal of particular Jewish beliefs, and participation in certain Jewish practices, all in relation to the family. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with thirty highly involved Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and secular Jewish families from seven states. Grounded theory methods were employed to analyze the data. Five major themes that emerged from the data were presented: 1) Family Influences Jewish Community Involvement; 2) Community Involvement Influences Family Life, 3) Jewish Religious Beliefs and the Family, 4) Family Influences on Jewish Observance in the Home, and 5) Sabbath Observance in the Home. Implications for theory, research, and practice relating to both Jewish families and non-Jewish families in the United States are also discussed.



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Committee Chair

Chaney, Cassandra



Included in

Social Work Commons