$1m. Challenge Grant for National Jewish Population Study

Baltimore, Maryland – November 12, 2012 – The Mandell and Madeleine Berman Foundation announced a challenge grant of $1 million to the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at NYU Wagner, toward the costs of conducting a 2013 National Jewish Population Study (NJPS).

Mandell (“Bill”) Berman, Chairman of the Berman Foundation, designated a team of five researchers to undertake the study. They include: Prof. Steven M. Cohen (Director, Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner), Dr. David Dutwin (Vice President and Chief Methodologist, Social Science Research Solutions), Ms. Melissa Herrmann (President, Social Science Research Solutions), Dr. Ron Miller (Vice President, Research, Ukeles Associates, Inc. and Associate Director, North American Jewish Databank) and Dr. Jacob (“Jack”) Ukeles (President, Ukeles Associates, Inc.). Mr. Berman will serve as Honorary Chair of the study. A Steering Committee (in formation) and a Panel of Advisors (to be named) will guide the enterprise.

As a condition of receiving the grant, by September 1, 2013, the organizing team must raise the entire amount required, estimated at an additional $2 million.

“For decades I have supported Jewish social research in the belief that high-quality, policy-relevant information is vital for sound Jewish communal decisions,” said Bill Berman. “Every year, our national federation system, our foundations, our public affairs organizations, our national religious and educational organizations influence the spending of billions of dollars in communities across America. Yet, as we haven’t had a national study since 2000-1, we know little or nothing about the people we seek to serve at the national level – how many Jews there are, where they live, how old they are, how they engage in Jewish life, what services they use and how they connect to Israel.

“In prior years, National Jewish Population Studies have engendered spirited conversation about the Jewish future and provided the stimulus for important changes in Jewish public policy. With an increasingly diverse national Jewish community, with new challenges to the Jewish communal system, and with great ambiguity about our effectiveness in many areas of Jewish life, we absolutely need the information, analysis and discourse that only a National Jewish Population Study can provide. I hope that my initial contribution, made on the occasion of my 95th birthday and the 45th anniversary of my attending General Assemblies, will motivate others to step forward and make this vital effort possible.”

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  1. says

    A very generous and welcome announcement. I also want to put in a plug for serious data utilization training and preparation as the study is being conducted. Despite the appearance of a “data utilization committee” with a list of names in NJPS 2000-01, there was no real effort made, as was true of the 1990 NJPS. Getting information out and make sure that it is used are two different activities.