Community Studies PublicationsThe Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) and Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University have deep expertise in research methods, theory, policy, and practice regarding US Jewish identity and engagement. Our work is distinguished by cutting-edge application of social science methods and keen attention to the needs of the community. Our approach utilizes a set of validated methods, applied in innovative ways, to collect, analyze, and report accurate and actionable data that informs community planning. Our community studies are designed to open new doors to understand and animate Jewish life.
The 2019-20 Pioneer Valley Jewish Community Study provides data about the the 12,200 Jewish households in the Pioneer Valley that can be used by communal organizations and their leadership to design programs and policies that support and enhance Jewish life. The study describes community members’ participation in Jewish communal life, their Jewish activities, and their attitudes about Judaism and Israel.
The 2019 Twin Cities Jewish Community Study estimates the number of Jewish individuals in the community and the number of non-Jewish adults and children who are part of the region’s 34,500 Jewish households. The study also creates a comprehensive portrait of the characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of the population.
The Baltimore 2020 Jewish Community Study provides a snapshot of the community and the ways in which members of Baltimore’s 46,700 Jewish households engage with Jewish life. The study estimates the size and characteristics of the Jewish population of the catchment area under the purview of The Associated and generates findings that could help Jewish organizations in Baltimore plan for the next decade and serve the Jewish community as effectively as possible.
The 2019 Howard County Jewish Community Study provides valid data about the 9,100 Jewish households in Howard County, MD, that can be used by communal organizations and their leadership to design programs and policies that support and enhance Jewish life. The study describes community members’ participation in Jewish communal life, their private Jewish activities, and their attitudes about Judaism and Israel.
The 2019 Greater Cincinnati Jewish Community Study estimates the number of Jewish adults in the community and the number of non-Jewish adults and children who are part of those households. The study also creates a comprehensive portrait of the characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of that population. The study provides national and historical context by considering trends and data in the United States and where possible, comparisons to Greater Cincinnati in 2008.
The 2018-19 Greater Denver Area Jewish Community Study employed innovative state-of-the-art methods to create a comprehensive portrait of the characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of present-day Greater Denver Jewry. The study focuses on the Jewish community in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties.
The 2019 Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Community Study provides a detailed socio-demographic portrait of the regional Jewish community and describes community members’ participation in Jewish communal life, their private Jewish activities and their attitudes about Judaism and Israel.
Conducted on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, the 2018 Greater Palm Beaches Jewish Community Study estimates the size of the Jewish community, describes its demographic characteristics, and examines its attitudes toward community institutions, programs and services. The report also creates a portrait of the multifaceted cultural, communal and religious expressions of Judaism that constitute Jewish engagement.
Conducted on behalf of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the 2018 South Palm Beach County Jewish Community Study was developed to help communal leaders, planners and residents better understand the size and character of their community. Interviews with over 2,100 Jewish households residing in South Palm Beach County form the basis of the report.
The 2017 Greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study provides a detailed socio-demographic portrait of the Pittsburgh-area Jewish community and describes community members’ participation in Jewish communal life, their private Jewish activities and their attitudes about Judaism and Israel.
The 2017 Greater Washington, DC Jewish Community Demographic Study provides an up-to-date description of the size and character of DC-area Jewish adults, children, and households. Interviews with over 6,600 Jewish households residing in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland form the basis of the report.
In 2017, the Jewish Federation of Collier County sponsored the first-ever representative sample survey of the Jewish community of Naples, Florida and the surrounding area. The study includes a population estimate; findings on the demography, ritual behavior, affiliations, volunteer activities and geographic profile of the population; and descriptions of the various ways community members participate in Jewish life.
This community study documents a slowly but steadily growing community of Jews. At its core, the Jewish community of Nashville and Middle Tennessee is comprised of a small, tight-knit group of highly involved individuals who participate in many aspects of Jewish life.
The 2014 Greater Seattle Jewish Community Study provides an up-to-date description of the size and character of Seattle-area Jewry. Included in the study are demographic findings, information on the religious background and geographic profile of Greater Seattle’s Jewish population as well as descriptions of participation in Jewish life and volunteer activities. The narrative is supplemented with community members’ own words on topics related to Jewish identity, diversity and community resources. The report also includes special sections devoted to issues confronting families with children, young adults, senior adults, inmarried and intermarried couples, and synagogue members.
This study of Greater Buffalo found a Jewish community comprised of 5,770 households. These households include 9,800 Jewish adults and 2,250 Jewish children, with an additional 1,000 non-Jewish adults and 200 non-Jewish children. On average, the community is older than the U.S. Jewish population as a whole, but it also includes families with children of preschool and day care age, multiple options for supplementary and day schools, and JCC family activities. A challenge confronting the Buffalo Jewish community going forward is to find ways to maintain the loyalty of long-standing members while being welcoming to those less involved, whether they are newcomers to the area or newly seeking connections to the Jewish community.
Commissioned by The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, the goal of this report was to better understand the economic challenges and needs of Jewish households in the Alliance catchment area communities. Researchers examined macro-level indicators, reviewed the services currently available in Rhode Island communities, collected systematic data about requests for assistance at the synagogue level, and conducted indepth interviews with individuals currently experiencing economic hardship.
This report describes the Jews of Western North Carolina, the ways in which they engage in Jewish communal life, the services that are provided by the communities, and the communities’ needs. It is intended to help the communities examine their own priorities and make decisions about resource allocation and program development and maintenance.
A socio-demographic study of the Berkshire Jewish population, this project examines the community's connections to, and engagement with, Jewish life and, in particular, provides information regarding special sub-groups of the population, such as the intermarried, seniors, Jewish young adults and part-time residents of the Berkshires.
The 2005 Boston Community Survey estimates the size of the Boston Jewish population and examines its demographic characteristics and the challenges posed by several of those findings, particularly those concerning age and economic vulnerability. The report then explores intermarriage and the upbringing of children in intermarried families. Finally, the report discusses the many varied connections to Jewish life, through ritual practice, membership in Jewish organizations, education of Jewish children, philanthropy and volunteering, and ties to Israel.
Aronson, J. K., Saxe, L., Kadushin, C., Boxer, M., & Brookner, M. A. (2019). A New Approach to Understanding Contemporary Jewish Engagement. Contemporary Jewry doi.org/10.1007/s12397-018-9271-8
Lustig, J. (Host). (2018, April 22). Jewish Community Studies with Matthew Boxer [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from Jewish History Matters podcast
Aronson, J.K., Boxer, M., & Saxe. L. (2016). ‘All Politics is Local’: Challenges in the Study of Local Jewish Communities. Contemporary Jewry 36 (3): 361–380
Boxer, M. (June 2007). Community Size and Identity. Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility 37: 7-8.