Featured Content Slideshow

Crowd from above forming a growth graph with lines connecting between them to show how COVID-19 can expand. Photo Credit: istockphoto.com/Orbon Alija

Building Knowledge of Contemporary Jewry

The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies incorporates the latest social science techniques in the study of contemporary Jewish life. The Steinhardt Social Research Institute develops reliable quantitative data about the US Jewish population.

Collage of report covers

Local Jewish Community Studies

Using cutting-edge social science methods, we collect, analyze, and report accurate and actionable data that informs community planning and helps animate Jewish life.

Maps in muted colors, overlaid text reads AJPP, State, County, Metro, Demographics

US Jewish Population Estimates

Our American Jewish Population Project includes a detailed interactive map of the US Jewish population with demographic profiles and political views of Jewish adults for states, metropolitan areas, and counties in the United States.

Backs of three people embracing

Birthright Israel Research

Our research on Birthright Israel employs rigorous methods to evaluate Birthright's short-term and long-term impact on Jewish young adults.

Four people standing on grass looking toward water and the woods

Evaluation Research

From studies of Hillel to synagogues and Jewish camp, we document the impact of core programs and initiatives on Jewish community life.

October 31, 2023. The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies is conducting a series of studies to understand how American Jews are reacting to the Israel-Hamas war. This study is lead by Prof. Leonard Saxe, the Director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. We have been contacting individuals by text message and by email. Invitations were sent to individuals who applied or went on Birthright. If you have any questions about this study please call 781-736-3821 or email isrlstudy@brandeis.edu

Recent Research Publications

Drawing the Line report cover

April 2024

In our December 2023 report, we documented the level of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hostility on 51 US campuses since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. One question prompted by our findings was how Jewish students “draw the line” between acceptable political discourse and antisemitism. Guidelines developed to define antisemitism (IHRA, NEXUS, JDA) agree that while criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic, particular statements can be, depending on the broader context. This report explores which forms of anti-Israel sentiments are viewed by Jewish college students as “crossing the line” into antisemitism, including critical statements about Israel that have received attention during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The findings are based on survey data collected in November-December 2023 from more than 2,000 Jewish undergraduate students at 51 US colleges and universities with large Jewish student populations.

Washtenaw report cover

April 2024

The 2022-23 Washtenaw County Area Jewish Community Study provides a snapshot of today’s Jewish population in Washtenaw County and considers trends and developments in Jewish life and engagement.  This study is based on an analysis of a rich set of data collected from 955 eligible households between November 2022 and January 2023.  In interpreting the data, it is important to bear in mind the study represents the characteristics and views of community members at that time. During that period, the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic were gradually being lifted. Data were also collected well before the Israel-Hamas war that began in October 2023 and the ensuing rise in antisemitism in the United States. It is likely that attitudes about Israel, concerns over antisemitism, and other markers of Jewish identity shifted from the time of data collection to the time that this report is being written.

Northeastern PA report cover

April 2024

The 2024 Jewish Population Study of Northeastern Pennsylvania is the first ever in-depth assessment of the size and characteristics of the Jewish community of Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania. This study offers a comprehensive depiction of the 5,500 Jews in Northeastern Pennsylvania, delving into their families; their Jewish attitudes, behaviors, and affiliations; their health and financial well-being; and measures of their engagement in Jewish life.

Hotspots of antisemitism report cover

December 2023

The report describes Jewish students’ perceptions of antisemitism on 51 US college campuses in the wake of the Hamas-Israel war. The report includes our rankings of these schools by the level of antisemitic hostility perceived by Jewish students. We also explore the different forms of antisemitism experienced by Jewish students at these schools (including antisemitism related to criticism of Israel), their levels of concern about antisemitism from different sides of the political spectrum, and the extent to which they see hostility to Israel as emanating from students, faculty, or administrators. The report also examines how antisemitic hostility may be affecting Jewish students’ safety and sense of belonging on their campus.