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Spring 2014 Issue Also Explores the Fort Ontario Project and the Evolution of the Israeli Peddler

Deep analysis of the first comprehensive survey of American Jews in more than a decade reveals findings at odds with the initial negative headlines in October.  The early reports on The Pew Research Center’s study focused on such findings as 71 percent of non-Orthodox Jews marry out of faith, 22 percent of Jews describe themselves as Jews of no religion and only a quarter say religion is very important in their lives.

However, B’nai B’rith Magazine’s cover story highlights more encouraging news: Writer Uriel Heilman takes a nuanced look at the numbers—and uncovers some interesting facts. The number of Jews in America has reached a record high of 6.7 million, and the survey did not count the 1.2 million people without Jewish ancestry who still consider themselves Jewish.

In the “From the Vault” section, writer Cheryl Kempler delves into the little-known Fort Ontario Project. From 1944-1946, nearly a thousand Jewish European refugees lived in Fort Ontario—a previously vacant army base in Upstate New York. Kempler tells their story and B’nai B’rith’s role in helping them.

After a law banning animal carts was passed in Israel, it may have seemed that the alte zachen (door-to-door merchants in used goods) were going to be things of the past. A story by Deborah Rubin Fields explains how this occupation has evolved with the times and remains stronger than ever.

On the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin dedicates his quarterly column to the Jewish role in the war, on both sides—and the role of B’nai B’rith in providing recreational activities and religious opportunities.  

To commemorate B’nai B’rith’s 170th anniversary last year, members from all around the world attended the 2013 B’nai B’rith Policy Forum. Taylor Schwink reports on the event.

B’nai B’rith International President Alan J. Jacobs also writes about the policy forum, describing what he took away from the presentations of six former B’nai B’rith presidents.

All this and more can be found in the current issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine.

And for exclusive digital content, visit the magazine website