May 18 2011

The Tel Aviv Cluster

The following opinion editorial was brought to us from the New York Times’ David Brooks

Jews are a famously accomplished group. They make up 0.2 percent of the world population, but 54 percent of the world chess champions, 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates and 31 percent of the medicine laureates.

Jews make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, but 21 percent of the Ivy League student bodies, 26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37 percent of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, 51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction.

In his book, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, Steven L. Pease lists some of the explanations people have given for this record of achievement. The Jewish faith encourages a belief in progress and personal accountability. It is learning-based, not rite-based.

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May 17 2011

Correlating Religion, Education, and Family Income

Occasionally, a very simple graphic makes a profound point.

That happened last Sunday when the New York Times Sunday Magazine published the following graphic and story correlating religion, education, and income. The chart illustrates the fundamental importance Reform and Conservative Jews place on education (58 to 65 percent of them have college degrees – versus 27 percent of the American population). That disparity has a dramatic impact on family income. Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jews have family incomes of more than $75,000 per year versus only 31 percent of American families. Cultures that treasure education will produce kids with significantly greater job skills – and that will qualify them for substantially higher paying jobs. As ever more of our mid-level jobs are lost to productivity gains, college and post graduate degrees are becoming ever more critical to the future of our kids.

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