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The first-ever National Jewish Educator Census (the Census) is currently conducting a count of the number of Jewish educators across multiple sectors of American Jewish life, as well as other information that will help Jewish education attract new educators, return educators to the field, and best prepare for a post-COVID-19 world. As the ongoing study collects data at the organizational level, leaders of eligible Jewish educational organizations will receive email invitations over the next few weeks. After July 31, organizational leaders who have not received an email with a link to the census, conducted by CASJE (Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) at George Washington University, can request an invitation until August 15 here.

The Census, led by Dr. Ariela Greenberg, Founder of The Greenberg Team, is part of the CASJE Career Trajectories Study, a multi-year, national research effort addressing the recruitment, retention, and development of educators working in Jewish settings in North America. The study is funded by the William Davidson Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

“National organizations and local communities need to understand the people power that creates and delivers Jewish education,” says Dr. Arielle Levites, managing director of CASJE. “With the participation of a maximum number of organizations, we can more accurately estimate the number of Jewish educators in the U.S., better understand who makes up the Jewish education workforce, provide targeted opportunities for professional development, and critically, strengthen the pipeline of educators. The strength of this pipeline is essential to sustaining Jewish education, particularly at this uniquely challenging moment.”

The Census originally was designed pre-COVID-19 to launch mid-March and request an extensive amount of data from organizations to develop a rich portrait of who Jewish educators are in the U.S. today. However, due to the COVID-19 shutdowns and to respect the limited time of Jewish organizational staff during this world-wide pandemic, the study team modified the data collection to the most critical and relevant information. Additionally, with input from organizations across multiple sectors of Jewish education, the Census team is collecting data on staffing changes since March 2020 and organizational needs in the face of COVID-19. The team will conduct a second census in 2021 to capture the important demographic data more comprehensively and highlight how the corpus of Jewish educators may have changed from 2019 to 2021.

“We understand the urgency of the moment as Jewish organizations plan for tomorrow, for the next six months, and for the long-term. This Census is not a snapshot study continuing in a vacuum from reality,” adds Dr. Greenberg. “Funders and decision-makers in the field need these year-to-year data to best support Jewish educators. Organizations can support the entire field and help themselves by participating in this unprecedented effort.”

Ensuring that a strong and high-quality pipeline of educators exists is one of CASJE’s primary objectives. The Career Trajectories study has taken on greater importance as communities face myriad challenges created by the pandemic.

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