| December 2009
It is with great pride that I share the
news that Professor Charles Kadushin, distinguished scholar at the Cohen Center,
has been awarded the Marshall Sklare award at the annual meeting of the
Association for Jewish Studies this weekend. Although the Nor'easter
that blanketed the East Coast kept several of us away from the AJS meeting in
Los Angeles, Charles gave his award address, "Social Networks and
Jews" to an enthusiastic audience.
The Marshall Sklare Award is given by the Association for the Social Scientific Study
of Jewry (ASSJ) and honors the memory of the Cohen Center's founding director. Marshall
Sklare (1912-1992) is acknowledged as the "founding father of American
Jewish sociology" and was the Klutznick Family Professor of Contemporary
Jewish Studies and Sociology at Brandeis University. The ASSJ award recognizes "a senior
scholar who has made a significant scholarly contribution to the social
scientific study of Jewry."
Charles is a pioneer of the social
network field. His book, "Making Connections: An Introduction to Social
Networks Concepts, Theories and Findings," will be published by Oxford
University Press in late 2010. He has conducted many large survey
research projects, including a congressionally mandated study of the adjustment
of Vietnam Veterans. His current work with the Cohen Center includes surveys
of Jewish populations and evaluation studies.
On behalf of all of us who work with Charles, we are delighted to see him receive
such a well-deserved honor. Other researchers from the Cohen Center will present at the
conference as well. Please see abstracts of their presentations below.
May this season continue to bring us light and peace,
Leonard Saxe, Director
Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
Steinhardt Social Research Institute
Social Networks and Jews
MARSHALL SKLARE MEMORIAL LECTURE
Social networks are the latest buzz in social science, the popular
press, and the blogosphere. Social network analysis has been increasingly applied
to a variety of topics and fields, from train schedules in China to the HIV
epidemic. Although many of the leading intellectual forerunners and founders of
the social network field were Jews, as are a great many of its leading contemporary
figures, Jewish social science has
invested relatively little in network analysis. Kadushin provides an historical
analysis of particular Jewish social networks and suggests methods for network analysis of contemporary Jewish life.
Read the address
(Note final version will appear in an upcoming issue of Contemporary Jewry
Other CMJS presentations at AJS
"Jewish Identity on the Suburban, Urban, and Rural Frontiers"
In sociological research of the American Jewish
community, the strongest predictors of Jewish identity are associated with
Jewish education, both formal and informal, and social networks. Jews who live outside the major centers of
Jewish life typically have lesser access to these forms of Jewish education
than their counterparts in large communities, and the services available to
them are often of lower quality. Using survey data from applicants for the summer
2008 cohort of the Birthright Israel program, this paper will account for the
impact of Jewish community size on Jewish identity.
"Guarding the Gates on
Shifting Sands: Rabbis, Intermarriage, and Officiation"
Perhaps no issue has caused more consternation
among contemporary Reform rabbis than the question of whether to marry a Jew to
a non-Jew and, if so, under what circumstances.
Rabbis have seen themselves as the guardians at the gates,
protecting the authenticity and strength of the Jewish family as the basic
building block of the Jewish community. Over the last half century,
however bridges of perceived similarity between Jews and non-Jews and between
inmarried and intermarried families have been building. In many ways the boundary that rabbis see
themselves as defending is in flux.
Using data from interviews conducted with 30 CCAR rabbis
from six large Jewish communities around the United States, we describe the
factors influencing the evolution of rabbinic policy on officiating as well as
the criteria used to determine which interfaith weddings rabbis are willing to
perform. Our data also suggests strategies to reposition rabbis in order to
maximize their avenues of influence on unmarried young adults as well as
engaged and newly married couples, whether or not they are inmarried or intermarried.
"Evaluating the Use of Opt-In Internet Panels for Surveys of American Jews"
Surveys of consumer
panels have been used for several decades to study the American Jewish
population, most notably the American Jewish Committee's Annual Surveys of
American Jewish Opinion. The past few years, however, have seen a dramatic
increase in their use. Concomitant with increased use has been a change in
mode, with panels shifting from mail-based samples to Internet opt-in panels. This presentation examines
the seriousness of threats to the validity of inference from opt-in Internet
consumer panels and discusses ways to ameliorate these concerns.
Israel: Where Does the Journey Lead?"
Taglit-Birthright Israel is about to celebrate
its tenth year, during which time it has provided more than 200,000 Diaspora
young adults with an Israel experience. This presentation reports the results of a long-term
follow-up study of more than 900 program participants and 300 equivalent non-participants. The study discusses the impact of the program on
Jewish marriages and conversions and a range of variables related to
Jewish identity and engagement. The
findings will be framed in social psychological terms and with respect to their implications for the future of Jewish life in the largest Diaspora community.
To view related publications, please visit us at www.brandeis.edu/cmjs.
Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies | Mailstop 014 | Brandeis University | Waltham | MA | 02454-9110