The Orthodox Union has launched the new OU Center for Communal Research. The Center will focus its research on how Jews learn to live Jewish lives, the diverse journeys they take in that process and the ways in which Jewish communal institutions influence behavior and sentiment. Established to collect and analyze data from the Jewish community, the Center will implement sophisticated research and evaluation methods that meet the highest scientific and ethical standards.
“The opportunity to step back and rigorously reflect on what we assume and assert about the Jewish populations we aspire to serve is a profound gift and one I’m honored to steward,” said Matt Williams. founding director of the OU Center for Communal Research.
The Center plans to produce a number of large studies per year. The first will be an examination of the economics of Jewish life with a focus on the ways in which market forces impact individual and communal behavior. The second will involve a closer look at a growing subset of the Orthodox community: single women over the age of 30. In addition to these large, mixed-method studies, the Center will conduct ongoing internal evaluation of OU programs; collect and make available existing research from external sources; produce publications; and convene symposia and other events on pressing communal issues.
Matt Williams, founding Director of the OU Center for Communal Research, joins the OU after serving as the Managing Director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive, where he conducted an array of research projects, developed strategic plans, and guided the design, execution, and evaluation of programs for a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish institutions.