Provide empirical survey data sets about the North
American Jewish community, from national and
local socio-demographic studies as well as other types
of contemporary and historical social science research.
Make available substantive and methodological reports on
the Jewish community, in particular, reports based on datasets
that are part of the archive.
Promote the Data Bank to Jewish Federations, communal
organizations, foundations and other groups interested
in research concerning Jewish life in North America.
Encourage academicians, students, communal
professionals and others to utilize Data Bank holdings
and to make their studies a part of the archive.
Sponsor seminars and provide other opportunities for
researchers and planners to discuss issues, improve
methodologies and exchange ideas based on quantitative
Prepare publications and other forms of information
dissemination concerning social scientific research
about North American Jewry.
The NAJDB was established in 1986 by the Council of Jewish
Federations (CJF), now United Jewish Communities, and the
Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).
Development of the Data Bank arose from CJF's long-term
involvement in demographic research and the interest by CUNY
faculty in applied research concerning the Jewish community.
CJF, the association of Jewish Federations in the United
States and Canada, had sponsored the 1971 National Jewish
Population Study. In addition, Federations in over 60 Jewish
communities across North America conducted local demographic
studies during the 1960s and 1970s. Population data acquired
in these studies helped Federations better serve their
constituencies and aided scholars of contemporary Jewry,
journalists, religious leaders and others interested in the
socio-demographics of North American Jewry.
By the early 1980s, population research and other
quantitative social research had become an increasingly
valuable and necessary part of Federation planning.
Utilization of the research was, however, often hampered
because survey data were often inadequately analyzed and
methodological differences across surveys made it difficult
to compare studies. Federations did not have the resources
to do much of their own analysis, nor even to retain the
original data files (then on tapes). A CJF colloquium for
planners and demographers in 1984 led to the creation of the
North American Jewish Data Bank.
CUNY served as the initial home for the Data Bank and,
during the 1990's, the archive was based at CUNY's Center
for Jewish Studies. One of the key tasks of the Data Bank
during this period was to transfer data from the various
Federation studies and the National surveys of Jews into
formats that could be used on personal computers. In
addition, Data Bank staff checked the quality of the
In the summer of 2004, the Data Bank was moved from Brandeis
University, its second home, to the
University of Connecticut where it is currently housed.