Research Topics

American Jewish Population Project

The American Jewish Population Project (AJPP) synthesizes data from nationally representative surveys of the US population to arrive at and map the US Jewish population. The synthesis enables comparative analyses nationally and locally, as well as over time. The estimates are designed to be useful for research, policy planning, and as survey controls.

Israel

The dynamic relationship of American Jews to Israel is a major focus of our research. We explore attachment to Israel (and the question of generational distancing), how American Jews think about political issues pertaining to Israel, and how their views affect their feelings of connection to the Jewish state. Our research in this area examines how Birthright Israel impacts connection to Israel in the short- and longterm. We also examine the extent of hostility toward Israel and antisemitism on North American campuses and assess the relationship between these trends and Jewish students’ support for and connection to Israel.

Jewish Education

Understanding the ways in which Jewish education works or doesn’t in particular frameworks and the relationship of Jewish education to Jewish identity are essential components of any policy discussion regarding Jewish engagement and/or Jewish continuity.

Our program of research falls into two categories of Jewish education: formal and experiential. Our projects in formal education have included studies of day schools and day school funding structures. Our projects related to experiential education have included studies of Jewish service, opportunities for teenagers, and Jewish camp.

Life on Campus

Our campus studies series explores concerns over antisemitism, anti-Israel hostility, racial and ethnic discrimination, and free expression on college campuses. The studies in this series draw on representative samples of Jewish and non-Jewish students. 

Local Jewish Community Population Studies

SSRI's community studies survey Jews in specific communities. Data from the AJPP are used to help develop estimates of local populations. Incorporation of AJPP process allows for more reliable population estimates and is cost-effective. This allows a community to focus surveys on understanding the dynamics of Jewish life in that particular region.

Religious Life and Religious Identity

Our studies in religious life include studies of intermarriage and synagogues.

CMJS researchers have explored the experience of intermarried families in synagogues, how young adults raised by intermarried parents think about their Jewish identity and relationship to the Jewish community, and the evolution of policy regarding rabbinic officiation of weddings between Jews and non-Jews.

How synagogues function and evolve has been a longstanding subject of CMJS research. Hundreds of congregational evaluations have been conducted throughout the United States. Most recently, CMJS partnered with Synergy/UJA-Federation on its Thriving Synagogue project to provide measurement tools for synagogues to evaluate where they stand on various dimensions of thriving.