Social scientists and general readers alike will shake their heads and reread sentences and paragraphs of this shocking and illuminating application of an economist’s perspective on contemporary American Jewish life. The terminology — old hat to economists but fresh to most others — defines how we act when we can’t afford to have everything we want: scarcity. This book is about how scarcity affects the religious behavior of ordinary American Jews and their families. Chiswick wants us to understand how economic incentives affect decisions about time and money, how prices and incomes influence whether a law or custom is generally observed or broken, whether it is viewed as central or peripheral, whether it is perceived as relevant or outdated, and therefore whether it persists as part of the culture. Rather than alluding to the power of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, she urges the use of cost/benefit analysis of observance to explain its practice. How much does a Jewish person have to give up to practice different aspects of Judaism? What are the direct and indirect aspects and consequences of making commitments of time and money to religious observance? How do the costs affect Jews differently who are in different socioeconomic groups? Without consideration of spirituality, Judaism in Transition utilizes new conceptual terminology to describe today’s American Jewish experience — a highly recommended, short but comprehensive volume to all those who want to broaden their understanding of contemporary American Judaism.