Moving Forward Together

San Diego’s Jewish Community Study: A Need for Current Data and a Commitment to Collaboration

San Diego’s last Jewish Community Demographic Study was completed 19 years ago in 2003 and no longer offers an accurate assessment of today’s Jewish community. While San Diego has a vibrant and seemingly growing Jewish community, it lacks meaningful current data — demographics, identities, needs, attitudes, and engagement levels of those who identify as Jewish — to strategically inform organizational decision-making.

Recognizing the need for valid and actionable data that serves the entire community, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center — Jacobs Family Campus, and the Leichtag Foundation have come together to form a collaborative Community Study Leadership Team (Leadership Team). The study is being conducted by Brandeis University and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Study Overview

Just as the work of the study’s Leadership Team is rooted in meaningful cross-organization collaboration, so too will the design and execution of this project reflect an innovative approach to Jewish community research. The completion of the study will provide a foundation for research-driven and evidence-informed decision-making among community organizations, initiatives, and programs. In fact, the Jewish Federation of San Diego County has committed to creating a new staff position to oversee community research and planning work upon the completion of the new study.

Guiding Principles for San Diego’s New Community Study

Beginning in spring 2021, the study’s Leadership Team met for facilitated conversations to build consensus around study goals and objectives. The following adopted principles reflect a shared commitment to understanding the diversity of our Jewish community, connecting with community members that are not actively involved in formal Jewish life, and using the study as a launching pad for ongoing data collection and analysis:

  • Gather actionable and usable data that sheds light on what Jews in San Diego County think and feel.
  • Recognize the diversity of the Jewish community and use an inclusive lens when recognizing Jewish identity.
  • Ensure full representation of Jews that are living on the margins/fringes and struggling to make ends meet.
  • Identify and understand Jews who are disengaged and disconnected from Jewish life.

Just imagine what could be possible if we knew:

  • Who feels disengaged from our Jewish community – and why?
  • If there are neighborhoods with large Jewish populations that don’t have access to community programs and services?
  • What Jews of all ages care about – and what differentiates younger and older cohorts in our community?
  • Whether Jews of Color feel welcome and included by established communal organizations; and if not, why not?
  • Why families with young children are struggling to keep their kids engaged in Jewish life.
  • The extent of antisemitism experienced by children and adults in our community.
  • What Jewish community members are most excited and concerned about.

Timeline

January – March 2022 Hold Community Kickoff Meetings and Coordinate with Community Organizations
May 2022 Develop Survey Instrument and Sample
June – September 2022 Data Collection: Survey is In the Field
October 2022 – May 2023 Data Analysis & Report Development
Summer 2023 Report Presentation and Dissemination

Study Team

Please contact Shana Hazan, Managing Consultant, at [email protected] with any inquiries about this study.

 

Leadership Team

Heidi Gantwerk, Jewish Federation of San Diego County
Michael Hopkins, Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Betzy Lynch, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS
Charlene Seidle, Leichtag Foundation
Beth Sirull, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

 

Core Team

Ollie Benn, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego
Chris Edwards, Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Jessica Kort, Leichtag Foundation
Darren Schwartz, Jewish Federation of San Diego County
Carole Yellen, Jewish Family Service of San Diego

 

Study Consultants and Contact Information

Janet Aronson and Len Saxe, Research Consultants, Brandeis Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
For questions about the study design and methodology, please contact [email protected] or call (781) 736-2936.

Shana Hazan, Managing Consultant
For general questions about the study, including media requests and community engagement, please contact [email protected].