Data collected will help inform community planning, allocations and programming efforts
for Jewish agencies and organizations for the next decade
Jewish Federation of St. Louis, in conjunction with local synagogues and other Jewish organizations, is launching a study of the St. Louis area’s Jewish community to determine its size, geographic distribution, socioeconomic, religious and cultural attributes. The study, which will be conducted via phone, will help inform community planning, allocations and programming efforts for Jewish agencies and organizations for the next decade.
“It’s been almost 20 years since the last study was conducted in our community, and the Jewish world has changed dramatically since then,” says Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., president and CEO of Federation. “But without hard numbers, no one knows exactly how the community has changed and how to best plan for the future. That’s where the survey data comes in. We urge everyone who is called to take the time to complete the survey so we can prepare for the evolving needs of our community.”
Calls to both cell phones and landlines will begin on or about March 31 and continue for approximately three months. The study will draw a representative sample of Jewish households in St. Louis, after a brief conversation with everyone who answers the telephone. Confidential interviews will be conducted with 1,000 Jewish adults. The interview takes approximately 18 minutes to complete. No identifying information will be kept or provided to the local community.
“Participation is critical to the success of this effort,” says Susan Scribner, senior planning and allocations associate for Federation. She says that the phone number and name that will show up on caller ID is 314-442-3790 and “St. Louis Community Study.” Although the number is a local number, the firm that has been selected to conduct the study is not a part of Federation or any other local agency. “When you see that number, please answer and make your voice heard,” Scribner says. She emphasizes that the calls involve no solicitation, only data collection and questions about behavior, perceptions and attitudes that are critical to help the community plan for the future.
The findings of the study will be widely distributed in a detailed report later this year. “This analysis will be a critical document for every Jewish agency, organization and synagogue in the St. Louis area because it will provide detailed statistics and projections that will shape their operations into the near future,” Rehfeld says. He says most Jewish communities conduct studies every 10 years, and that is the plan for St. Louis moving forward.
The study will be conducted by Jewish Policy & Action Research (JPAR), and independent agency that is a strategic alliance between Ukeles Associates, Inc and Social Science Research Solutions. JPAR’s researchers include Professor Steven M. Cohen, Dr. Jacob B. Ukeles, Dr. Ron Miller and Dr. David Dutwin, and it has conducted 20 previous studies of Jewish communities in the United States. Les Sterman, who served for 26 years as executive director of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the region’s chief planning body, is chairing the Community Study Advisory Committee.