Cleveland Intermarriage Study 2007

Sponsor(s): Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland

Principal Investigator(s): Pearl Beck

Study Dates: 2007

Population Estimates:

Report is NOT a population study, but a non-random survey of 51 intermarried couples in Cleveland, OH - with both the Jewish and the non-Jewish partner interviewed separately.

Key Findings:

"Addressing the Needs of Intermarried Families in Cleveland: An Exploration of Decision-Making Among Parents of School-Age Children," was commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in 2007 and published in June, 2008.

Report combines quantitative data and qualitative findings to focus on how intermarried families raise their children.


51 couples interviewed on telephone; both Jewish and non-Jewish spouses interviewed separately for a total of 102 respondents.Approximately 82% of study couples agreed with each other about how their children were being raised.60% agreed that their child were being raised Jewish, 4% that they were being raised Christian, and 18% agreed that the children were being raised both Jewish and Christian.In 18% of the households, the Jewish and non-Jewish partners disagreed about how the child was being raised.

In approximately half of these cases, the Jewish partner answered that the child was being raised Jewish while the non-Jewish partner thought the child was being raised Jewish and Christian.


Dr. Beck noted that the non-Jewish partners altered their holiday observance behaviors more substantially than the Jewish partners - in terms of celebrating specific Jewish holidays (Chanukah & Passover) and non-Jewish holidays (Christmas & Easter).


For example, the majority of non-Jewish spouses reported that they currently celebrated both Chanukah & Passover, whereas hardly any had done so in the past. In contrast, the proportion of Jewish respondents who celebrate Christmas increased from 25% when they were growing up, to about 75% at the time of the survey.


Intermarried couples in Cleveland, OH, recruited by the principal investigator.


59% of the mothers and 41% of the fathers interviewed were Jewish.

Sample Size: 102 telephone interviews of 51 intermarried couples were completed by trained interviewers.

Sample Notes:

Study design was deliberately non-random, and is not presented in the report as a statistically representative sample.


Recruitment of the sample employed multiple sources: Craig's List, advertising in local neighborhood papers, and flyers placed in both Jewish and non-Jewish places in Cleveland.The interviews were supplemented by a brief online survey completed by each participant, which essentially focused on demographic data and Jewish connections.Report combines quantitative data from surveys, qualitative insights from telephone interviews, and a few illustrative case studies.

Report presents data focusing on the details of raising children in intermarried households that are often not included in Jewish community surveys.


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