Looking to the future, with community study as a guide


In 2017, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh published the results of the study on the Jewish community of Greater Pittsburgh, which the Federation had commissioned from the Marilyn and Maurice Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at the Steinhardt Institute for Social Research of the ‘Brandeis University.

The research included interviews with approximately 2,100 Jewish households in Greater Pittsburgh, and the full report that came out of those interviews provides a wealth of information on Jewish Pittsburgh. The statistics uncovered by the study could serve as a roadmap to guide us towards a stronger, more cohesive and more robust community.

While the data contained plenty of good news for Jews in Pittsburgh – including a 17% growth since 2002 as well as an influx of young Jewish adults here – the challenges revealed in the study are also numerous and include the decline in membership in the congregation, non-engagement of a percentage of mixed families as rates of mixed marriages rise and economic insecurity, with a quarter of Jewish households not having enough savings to cover three months of expenses .

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“The biggest takeaway from the study is the timeliness,” said Evan Indianer, study chair, in 2017. The study, he explained, would allow community organizations to take “ smart data-driven decisions “.

After a year of mourning, dealing and responding to last year’s massacre at the Tree of Life building, we hope that the professional and lay leaders of the Pittsburgh Jewish community are ready to turn their attention to some of the issues raised. evidence from the study on the Jewish community.

Of course, the shock and loss felt after the assassination of our fellow Jews in the most violent anti-Semitic attack in US history will remain for many – or most – of us throughout. Our lives, we remain optimistic that our community is ready to refocus on the various challenges we face in the Jewish city of Pittsburgh as we move forward into the 21st century.

The Chronicle vows to resume reporting on these issues after a year of coverage dominated by last year’s attack and its aftermath. We’ve already published three articles in a 10-part series taking a close look at some of the people who make up the statistics highlighted in the study, and we look forward to resuming this series in the coming weeks.

The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Study is a “planning tool,” Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh told The Chronicle in 2017. He hoped the study would be used by the community to see “what we’re doing well – and doing more of that – and what we’re not doing well.”

“It’s a snapshot in time,” Finkelstein said. “Shame on us if we don’t use it to examine trends and make sure we are meeting the needs of our Jewish people. “

We have some work to do, that’s for sure.pjc

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