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Major Research Projects

American Jewish Population Project

In an effort to develop reliable estimates of the size and characteristics of the American Jewish population, SSRI has used a data synthesis approach to yield estimates of the proportion of U.S. adults who claim Judaism as their religion, the number of secular/cultural Jews (i.e., Jews who identify other than by religion), and the number of children. As part of this program of research, SSRI has developed the American Jewish Population Project, an innovative effort to map the Jewish population in the United States. This project is intended to allow comparative analyses nationally and locally, as well as over time. 

Campus Studies

Concerns over antisemitism, anti-Israel hostility, racial and ethnic discrimination, and free expression on college campuses have recently been at the forefront of national debate. The Steinhart Social Research Institute’s campus studies series explores these critical issues with representative samples of Jewish and non-Jewish students.

Community Studies

The Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies works with local residents and leaders to design and implement studies most appropriate for that community's particular needs. Community studies have focused on population characteristics and estimates as well as economic need. 

Birthright Israel 

Since 1999, Birthright Israel has sent nearly 350,000 young Jewish adults from more than 50 countries on free, 10-day educational tours of Israel. Established by a group of Jewish philanthropists, in collaboration with the Israeli government and Jewish communities around the world, Birthright Israel aims to encourage Jewish continuity, foster engagement with Israel, and forge a new relationship among Jews around the world. Since the program's inception, CMJS has been conducting rigorous research to evaluate the program and learn about its impact on the current generation of Jewish young adults.

The Jewish Futures Project is related to our study of Birthright Israel. The Jewish Futures Project tracks a group of Jewish young adults over a number of years, as they negotiate emerging adulthood and embark upon settled adult lives. We examine the decisions these young adults make and the factors that influence those decisions as they unfold. The study hopes to describe the trajectory of the next generation of American Jewry with respect to Israel, engagement and family, and to recognize the experiences, connections, and interventions that increase Jewish identification. Four waves of the study have been conducted as of 2015.