On the National Jewish Population Survey (2000-2001) presentation regarding Orthodox Jews, slide 9 presents the following statistics:
Of the 587,000 Jews who were raised Orthodox and currently consider themselves Jewish
– 240,000 are currently Orthodox
– 347,000 are currently non-Orthodox
Of the 297,000 Jews who were raised Jewish and currently consider themselves Orthodox
– 240,000 were raised Orthodox
– 57,000 were raised Non-Orthodox
There are some issues with the numbers in that 10% of American Jews in the study consider themselves Orthodox, and it looks like they are using a number of over 5,000,000 total Jews which would mean that there are over 500,000 Orthodox Jews, not 297,000.
But is seems that there are about 57,000 Baalei Teshuva in America.
In an article by Marvin Schick from 2005 he quotes Effie Buchwald, former head of AJOP as saying that the number of Baalei Teshuva has doubled since 1990 and that the average Kiruv professional mekarevs 1 2/3 Baalei Teshuva per year.
Update: Here is a study from Brandeis which questions the NJPS numbers and says that there are over 6,000,000 Jews in American with no more than 10% Orthodox. It also cites the Avi Chai 2004 day school census which says that there are 132,000 Orthodox Day School students between the grades of 1 and 12.
What do you make of this?
Does the 57,000 figure sound right?
Is becoming Orthodox a good measure of successful outreach?
What should we do differently?