The Influence of Community Context and Individual Characteristics on Jewish Identity: A 21-Community Study

Sponsor(s): Berman Institute - North American Jewish Data Bank at the University of Connecticut

Principal Investigator(s): Ira M. Sheskin, Harriet Hartman

Study Dates: 2011

Key Findings:

Report by Harriet Hartman and Ira M.Sheskin uses the Decade 2000 Data Set compiled by Ira Sheskin from community studies completed by him from 2000 to 2008 in order to analyze the impact on Jewish identity of individual characteristics and the broader community context.

Analysis was completed with partial assistance provided by a Berman Summer Fellowship to Dr. Hartman by the North American Jewish Data Bank at the University of Connecticut.

Sample Notes:

Decade 2000 Data Set includes 19,000 respondents from 21 studies completed by Dr. Sheskin.  The 19,000 respondents represent an estimated 1,219,000 people (including 1,059,000 Jewish persons) living in 536,000 Jewish households.

Study Notes:

After reviewing some of the literature on Jewish identity and then describing the Decade 200 Data Set (and some of the methodological considerations involved in its use), the authors present the results of a factor analysis of 17 Jewish identity indicators which yielded four Jewish Identity Factors: (1) a Communal Religious Factor, (2) a Private Religious Factor, (3) a Communal Ethnic Factor and (4) a Local Ethnic Factor.

The researchers then present 44 hypotheses related to the relationships between the Jewish Identity Factors at the community level and at the individual level to Jewish
background/connection, family status, socioeconomic status, and demography/geography
variables. The authors note that they are able to test the extent to which individual-level characteristics retain their previously-found relationship with the various factors of Jewish Identity, even when community context is controlled - -  and can also discern the net effect of community-level characteristics on individual Jewish identity.

Language: English