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UAlbany Survey Research Director Joel Bloom Offers “Synagogue Scholars”

B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation continues its popular “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series with a talk by University at Albany survey research director Joel Bloom.

Bloom will present his talk, “What a Jew Believes: Trends and Patterns in the Public Opinion of American Jews” during the congregation’s Friday, February 20, Shabbat service.  The service and program, open to all who wish to worship and learn, begin at 8 p.m.  B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, N.Y.    
Jewish American sociologist Milton Himmelfarb famously wrote in the 1950s that “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.”  According to Bloom, this statement is, if anything, even more accurate now than it was 60 years ago, despite the concerted efforts of conservative Jewish opinion leaders to move liberal Jews into their fold.  While these efforts have not been successful in creating more Jewish conservatives, they have succeeded in creating an increasingly nasty rift between Jewish conservatives and liberals, most clearly observed in discussions about Israeli politics and President Obama.

    Bloom serves as director of academic assessment and survey research at UAlbany.  His survey experience includes work with the National Election Studies, Oregon Survey Research Laboratory and National Election Pool, the national media consortium that conducts network exit polls, as well as in his current position.  He also has taught courses in U.S. public opinion at several universities.  Bloom earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Michigan.

Begun in 2004, the “Synagogue Scholars” lecture series spotlights B’nai Sholom congregants who are recognized scholars in their fields.  Upcoming speakers include:

• March 20 –Stephen Gottlieb, the Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, on “The U.S. Supreme Court and Jews – Update on Recent Issues”;

• April 17 – Sharona Wachs, Judaic studies librarian and monographic cataloger at UAlbany, on “Dance and Movement in the Bible and in Prayer.”

For more information, visit or contact the B’nai Sholom office at or phone 518-482-5283.

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