Pew Poll: Jewish Representation in New U.S. Congress Drops - but Still Holding Strong

The incoming 535-member Congress has 28 Jewish members, five fewer than the previous one; of the controlling bloc of 301 Republicans, one is Jewish.

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Lee Zeldin, an attorney from New York, is the lone Jewish Republican in the 114th U.S. Congress, to be sworn in on January 6, 2015.Credit: Zeldin for Congress

Jewish representation overall in the 114th U.S. Congress will drop a bit, and among the 301 Republicans in the new legislature, only one is Jewish, a survey says. Still, Jewish representation in Congress is significantly high compared to its make-up in the American population.

The new 535-member Congress, to be sworn in on Tuesday, will have 28 Jewish members, five fewer than the 113th gathering, Pew Research reports. Of the total congressional membership, nearly 92% is Christian and more than 5% is Jewish. For comparison, Jews make up 2% of the U.S. adult population, Pew reports.

Lee Zeldin, a newly elected representative from New York, is the only Jew among the 301 Republicans and in fact is the only non-Christian in that bloc, Pew reports.

Jewish advocates lost a senior Republican member when former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia district’s primary.

Zeldin, 34, is an attorney from New York's Long Island, married with twin daughters. He served four years of active duty in the U.S. Army, including a deployment to Iraq as a paratrooper during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is now a major in the reserves.

Of the 234 Democrats in the new legislature, 27, or 12%, are Jewish.

A single member of the new Congress identifies as religiously unaffiliated: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat.

Nine other members either said they didn't know with which religion they identified or declined to say, Pew reported.