Shavuot in seven charts: belief in God, the Torah, prayer and Jewish learning among UK Jews

Data from the JPR Research Panel suggest that for most Jews, Shavuot may be less about God and religious texts and more about their families and the Jewish People

Dr David Graham

In this factsheet:

During Shavuot, Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah to the Jewish People. This factsheet presents new empirical data to explore briefly how that idea translates in the contemporary Jewish context. The factsheet uses data from JPR’s recent study of Jewish identity in the UK today, based on the responses of nearly 5,000 British Jews, members of the JPR research panel, to its UK National Jewish Identity Survey, held in November – December 2022.

Some of the key findings in this factsheet:

  • A majority of Jews in the UK do not believe in God as described in the Bible, nor do they believe that the Torah is the actual word of God.
  • Fewer than half of British Jews believe that God created the universe, and about four in ten do not believe in the power of prayer.
  • While only a minority of British Jews consider studying Jewish texts to be important to their Jewish identity, it remains the case that a majority of them participate in adult Jewish learning activities.
  • For most Jews in the UK, feeling part of a broader Jewish collective is essential to their Jewish identity, and most British Jews attend synagogues, at least on High Holy Days.
  • 86% of British Jews said sharing and celebrating Jewish festivals, such as Shavuot, with their family is important or ‘very important’ to their Jewish identity.

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Dr David Graham

Senior Research Fellow

Dr David Graham

Senior Research Fellow

David is a Senior Research Fellow at JPR, an Honorary Associate at the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney...

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