Attitudes of Jewish clergy toward *adoption issues
Bleich, Moshe Aharon
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This exploratory study was undertaken in order to determine the attitudes of Jewish clergy of various denominations with regard to issues surrounding adoption, including open adoption vs. closed adoption and attempts to discover the identity of biological parents. The data was gathered through questionnaires distributed to members of the major American rabbinical organizations. Responses received from 1,154 members of the clergy, representing a 32.20% response rate, were utilized for purposes of qualitative analysis. Of these surveys, 851 or 23.71% of the sample, were used for quantitative data analysis.;All responses to the questionnaire were analyzed by their frequency distribution. Further chi-square testing, ANOVA, and multiple regression techniques were undertaken to assess whether religious denomination rather than other independent or background variables played a statistically significant role in influencing attitudes to adoption-related issues on the part of Jewish clergy.;The study found that Orthodox clergy are more negative in their attitude with regard to many adoption-related issues than are Conservative and Reform clergy and that the gap between Conservative and Reform clergy is more narrow. The level of secular education of the respondents did not have a significant impact upon such attitudes. However, older members of the clergy were more conservative in their outlook. The qualitative material reflects a number of issues faced by members of the Jewish adoption triangle, particularly in situations involving adoption of a non-Jewish child by Jewish parents.;Clergy frequently serve as opinion-molders or authority figures encouraging or discouraging various practices and may serve a valuable function in alleviating guilt feelings. Attention is focused upon ways in which the social work profession can assist in coping with problems that stem from religious and cultural mores that are unique to this community and upon possible avenues of collaborative effort by social workers and members of the Jewish clergy in providing assistance to members of the adoption triangle.