Berman Jewish DataBank Learning Module - Exploring Jewish Identity

Sponsor(s): Berman Jewish DataBank@The Jewish Federations of North America

Principal Investigator(s): Harriet Hartman

Study Dates: 2014

Key Findings:

Professor Harriet Hartman of Rowan University has created a Learning Module which is designed to introduce students and scholars to the analysis of Jewish survey data in a relatively easy-to-use format, utilizing some of the local Jewish community study and national Jewish survey data which are available at the Berman Jewish DataBank.

The module is a self-learning, self-directed activity which focuses on exploring Jewish identity (religious identity and ethnic identity).   The module's exercises invite thinking about Jewish identity and exploring ways in which Jewish identity is expressed.  The activities within the Learning Module are designed to help users learn how to read survey data to understand and interpret Jewish identity,  to help users explore some of the differences among Jewish persons with different denominational identifications (or none at all), and to compare findings in one Jewish community study to findings from other Jewish community studies.

Data exist for 14 local community studies (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, the Lehigh Valley (PA), New York, Philadelphia, Portland ME, San Antonio, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Westport (CT) and for the 2000-01 National Jewish Population Survey.  All studies are available at the DataBank, with reports from the studies and the data files on which they are based.

Students/scholars/users do not need to purchase a software analysis program or do their own data runs.  Data are already packaged in tables and charts on an interactive website that learning module users access.

Since the goal of the Learning Module is to introduce the logic and potential of the social scientific analysis of Jewish identity data, key variables from each study have been pre-analyzed and formatted into Graphs/PieChart and (cross-tabulation) Tables for each of the 15 studies. The thirteen Jewish identity variables which are available include synagogue attendance, Hanukkah candle and Sabbath candle lighting practices, Seder attendance, Jewish charitable donations, attitudes towards Israel, etc.  Five socio-demographic variables are included in the data modules (age, denomination, gender, intermarriage and secular education).

While not all variables are available for every one of the 15 studies, the vast majority are available  - - thus, the data used for the Learning Module contain over one thousand comparisons.

Study Notes:

(a) The Learning Module is available for downloading (to the right) as a PDF -  it contains exercises and hints for completing these exercises. 

The Berman Jewish DataBank staff suggests that the student/scholar/user create a sub-folder for the Learning Module materials so that they can be accessed easily for future explorations of the data.  While the formal exercises require perhaps 2-3 hours, additional self-exploration is strongly encouraged -  and will hopefully spur a lifetime of Jewish data exploration.

(b) Two basic hyperlinks are embedded in the Learning Module PDF.

The student/scholar/user will thus need to keep the PDF Learning Module and the materials in the links open simultaneously. 

The first link is to the data base of tables and graphs described above which is housed at Rowan University where Professor Hartman teaches. Clicking on QuickAnalysis in the PDF will take the user to the Rowan website, which will show up as a tab in browsers as "najdb."   

The website has all the data analyzed and organized for data exploration.

The website will remain open during the Learning Module exercises.

If a LOGIN is requested, click on "Guest" and then login - one time may be sufficient depending on browser settings.

The second link in the PDF asks the user to go to a sub-page of the Berman Jewish DataBank website (  This sub-page is part of the DataBank resources section of the website which contains materials sponsored or created by the DataBank).  The directions allow the user/student to go to  "Comparisons of U.S. Local Jewish Communities" -  a direct hyperlink has been added here to simplify the process.

This second link includes at the top, the link to the Learning Module itself -  and then a link to the 2013 Comparisons of Jewish Communities: A Compendium of Tables and Bar Charts, compiled by Ira Sheskin and edited by Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, a comparison of approximately 60 Jewish community studies on hundreds of variables in 36 sections.

The Learning Module PDF asks the user to go to two specific sections within the Compendium and download them for review and analysis.  The DataBank suggests that these sections of the Compendium be downloaded into the folder created for the Learning Module exercise so they will be easily accessible.

Professor Hartman encourages questions and comments. She can be reached at  Professor Hartman developed the module with her assistant, Katherine Campbell.


Language: English