From Research to Action Conference, May 2019
Local Jewish community studies are a fixture of Jewish communal life in the United States. But how are the findings used after a study is completed and shared with the community? Early last summer (2919), we gathered lay and professional leaders from 15 communities that have conducted studies with CMJS/SSRI for a two-day meeting, “From Research to Action: Using Community Studies Data for Program Planning and Policy.” We asked them to share what they had learned or hoped to learn from their local study and discuss best practices around strategic planning, fundraising, and rollouts.
Community representatives shared a range of action steps their federations and agencies had taken as a result of report findings. Some mentioned earmarking funds for programs in an underserved geographic area after learning that their Jewish population had spread there. Others used their study to help decide which programs should be scaled up and which should be merged or eliminated. Study results were used by communities to reconsider the role and structure of the federation, to guide strategic planning, and to aid in fundraising efforts for new initiatives. Shari Merrill, Chief Impact Officer, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, described a “paradigm shift” in fundraising, allocating funds, and the community engagement model as a result of the 2017 Washington, DC study. Continue reading
This post is part of series that takes a deeper look at some of the findings from our Millennial Children of Intermarriage report. The first installment looks at the relationship of children of intermarriage to their grandparents. We found that the relationship to Jewish grandparents can be extremely important for a child’s later Jewish identity.
Background: Our study draws on a sample of approximately 2,7000 respondents and in-depth interviews with 27 children of intermarriage in four cities. We compared children of intermarriage and children of inmarriage to identify which experiences and relationships are most likely to result in robust Jewish attitudes and practices in adulthood. The central finding of the study was that participation during college in Birthright Israel, campus groups such as Hillel and Chabad, and/or taking courses focusing on Jewish topics was life-changing in terms of respondents’ Jewish engagement. At the same time, participation in Jewish life during college was related to childhood experiences. As part of the study, survey respondents were asked open-ended questions about who had the greatest influence on their religious identities when they were growing up, and in what ways. About one-fifth of children of inmarriage and intermarriage mentioned grandparents as an important adult influence. We decided to look into this relationship further.