Community Studies - FAQ


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For general questions related to community studies, please refer to the FAQ ABOUT COMMUNITY STUDIES

For general questions related to participation in the survey, please refer to the FAQ PARTICIPATION IN THE SURVEY

Who is conducting the study?

The Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) at Brandeis University is a multi-disciplinary research institute dedicated to the study of American Jewry and religious and cultural identity. The Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI), hosted at CMJS, is committed to the development and application of innovative approaches to socio-demographic research for the study of Jewish, religious, and cultural identity.

Why do you need our membership and/or mailing list?

The starting point for a community study is the combined list of all households who are connected in any way with the organized Jewish community. In most Jewish communities, the majority of Jews are associated with at least one Jewish organization, so the best way that we can get in touch with your community’s members is through these organizations. One way for you to contribute to the success of the survey is to help us to develop the most complete set of households possible by providing your organization’s mailing/membership list. 

How will the list be used?

All names and contact information will be taken from the list and combined with lists provided by other organizations. Duplicate households will be combined so that no household appears more than once. From this list, a random sample of households will be selected and invited to complete the survey.

What should be included in the list?

The more information you can provide, the more helpful the list will be. Information that we request includes names of all adult members of the households, number of children, mailing address, all phone numbers (work, home, and cell), and all email addresses, but we would still appreciate lists that contain less than that.

What format should the list be in?

A table format with one household per row is most useful (similar to this table). This is best sent to us as an Excel spreadsheet (see an example in Excel here). However, if you use another format, we will take care of converting it.

There are people who are not Jewish on the list.  Should they be included?

Please leave everyone on the list, as we want to speak with as much of the Jewish community as possible and don’t want to miss any responses and information that could be helpful

Will the people on the list know who gave their name?

People who receive the survey will not know specifically what organization supplied their name. Many households appear on multiple lists and information from all will be combined. In addition, the lists will be supplemented with publicly available data.

How will you protect the confidentiality of the people on the list?

All lists will be stored in password-protected files that are available only to the team of researchers. They will not be released to any agency in your local Jewish community or any other outside organization. At the end of the project, the lists and all identifying data about survey participants will be destroyed.

I need to contact my members to ask their permission to release their contact information. What should I tell them?

You can refer them to this FAQ list and assure them of the confidentiality of the information and the importance of the study to themselves and to the community. In addition, remind them that removing a name from your list will not necessarily remove them from the study since we have multiple sources of information. Finally, please assure them that if they are selected to participate in the survey they are free to refuse.

What about those in the Jewish community who are on no organizational lists?

While the majority of Jews in most communities are members of at least one Jewish organization, there will of course be some Jews who are not associated with any community organizations. To reach this segment of the population, we access publicly available information and purchase lists of likely Jewish households from commercial data brokers. 

For more information, contact Matthew Boxer (