Intergenerational study of American Jewish Community launches with United Jewish Federation of Tidewater participating

April 19, 2013

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A new survey launched by Dr. David Elcott and Stuart Himmelfarb explores the attitudes, activities, plans, priorities, and beliefs of Jewish adults 18 and over.

The research targets all four adult generational groups (Millennials, Gen X-ers, Boomers and WWII/ Greatest) so that program planners, organizational leaders and funders in the Jewish community can make decisions based on timely insights into how people feel about their connections to Jewish life, as well as the emerging similarities and differences among these generational groups.

The researchers’ hope is to stimulate new ideas about ways to engage more people more actively in Jewish life. Given the rapid pace of change today, data and insights like these are increasingly important.

They are fielding this survey now because much of the research observed today is limited by age or geographic region or subject matter, or by a lack of resources. As Gary Rosenblatt wrote in The New York Jewish Week last month:

“[T]here are only a handful of key researchers in the Jewish community doing studies on population figures, assimilation, religious practice and other key elements of Jewish life, with an eye toward communal planning…(S)ociologists now bemoan the fact that there has been no national Jewish population survey since (2001).

“The research team hopes to help address this situation, even though this survey is not comparable in scope to a national population study. Ten national organizations and nearly 40 local federations (including Tidewater) have agreed to participate in the project by forwarding a link to the questionnaire to their members, supporters and constituents. This is the methodology Elcott used to generate the sample in his successful study of Jewish Baby Boomers and encore careers in 2009.

“The plan is to field this new and broader research survey annually and to make it available free of charge to as many Jewish organizations, leaders, funders and participants as possible.”

The researchers welcome responses from anyone in Tidewater. Just go to https://www. research.net/s/6PFVZ23 to fill out the questionnaire. Forward the link to friends and colleagues to invite them to participate as well.

In a time of limited resources and surging information needs, collaboration on research and program design can benefit organizations, funders, professionals and activists across the Jewish landscape—and ignite new thinking, priorities and models of engagement.

—Dr. David Elcott is the Henry and Marilyn Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Stuart Himmelfarb is CEO and, with Elcott, co-founder of B3/The Jewish Boomer Platform, an initiative dedicated to engaging—or reengaging— Boomers in Jewish life. They can be reached at research@b3platform.org.

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