When was the last time a study was done?
The most recent comprehensive population study of Jews and Jewish life in the Twin Cities was published in 2004, based on data collected in 2003. The publication of the 2004 Twin Cities Population Study resulted in new funding, and attention on early childhood needs, interfaith families, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, to name a few. It highlighted the importance of investment in high quality supplemental and day schools, as well as the critical role of Jewish summer camp in building the future of our Jewish community. The 2010 St. Paul Population Study update and the 2012 St. Paul Community Planning project provided further information about the St. Paul community demographics and perceived needs.
For at least five years, our partner agencies and beneficiaries have been vocal about their desires and need for updated population data. Given the scope and significance of changes we all face, and age of the last study, we are long past due for fresh work.
What will the study track?
The new research will track key demographics, attitudes and themes. Among them are:
Social service needs
Jewish attitudes and identity
Familiarity with communal institutions
What resulted from information from past studies?
The publication of the 2004 Twin Cities Population Study resulted in new energy, funding, and attention on early childhood needs, interfaith families, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, to name but a few. It highlighted the importance of investment in high quality supplemental and day schools, as well as the critical role of Jewish summer camp in building the future of our Jewish community. The 2012 St. Paul Community Plan identified several new initiatives including the establishment of a Jewish Metropolitan Council focused on increased collaboration between Minneapolis and St. Paul, formation of young adult giving circles, and grants to agencies to improve their social media presence.
Who is Jewish?
Researchers use screeners and specific questions to identify the Jewish population. The Cohen Center for Jewish Studies at Brandeis University uses the Pew Research Center’s 2013 A Portrait of Jewish Americans to inform its research. The Pew Study classified the “respondents according to their responses to a series of screening questions: What is your religion? Do you consider yourself to be Jewish aside from religion? Were either of your parents Jewish? Were you raised Jewish? Based on the answers to these questions, Jews have been categorized as “Jews by religion” (JBR)—if they respond to a question about religion by stating that they are solely Jewish—and “Jews of no religion” (JNR)—if their religion is not Judaism, but they consider themselves Jewish through some other means.”
How will we reach unaffiliated, unengaged Jews in our community?
To reach unaffiliated households – those who are not known to any Jewish communal organization – we will make use of purchased lists of households in the surrounding counties (Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka, Washington, Scott, Carver, Wright, and Sherburne) in which at least one person has an ethnic Jewish first or last name. All Jewish households on the ethnic name list that do not appear on any Jewish organization’s list are used to represent all of the unaffiliated Jewish households. We recognize that not all Jewish households have ethnic Jewish names and therefore will not appear on this list. Nevertheless, results of previous studies suggest that the unaffiliated Jews who do not appear on ethnic lists are similar in characteristics to those who do appear on the lists. The key is that it includes sufficient households who are unknown to the community and willing to be interviewed. The ethnic names list is an effective and cost-sensitive means to collect data for reliable estimates of the unknown households.
Will you ask questions about race or ethnicity?
Yes. The study will include questions that ask about the respondent’s race. The Twin Cities study will be one of the first to ask a Census-style race question. These questions are incredibly important for identifying people of color in the Jewish community.
How will the data be used?
A series of presentations will take place to socialize the data with the community. These presentations will be tailored to stakeholder interests and research questions. The data will be open-source and available to anyone through the Berman Jewish DataBank website and the community study website.