New reports from the Los Angeles Jewish community focus on engagement and education – eJewish Philanthropy


How many Jewish Angelenos received a Jewish education? What factors encourage someone to show up at a Jewish event? How do Jews of color feel about Jewish institutions in Los Angeles? The answers to these questions and more are presented in four new reports, released this week by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

The reports are part of the 2022 “Jewish Los Angeles Study,” the first part of which was released in July. The demographic survey is the first comprehensive survey of Jewish Los Angeles since 1997, and it paints a picture of a community that is becoming more diverse and complex in terms of Jewish identity. The federation hopes that its own staff, partners and the community at large will use the reports to help build and develop programs that showcase this diversity and complexity.

“‘The Study of Jewish LA’ and these new reports have been inspired by a desire to help our conference and our partners understand the wonderful diversity and complex identities that make up our Jewish community,” said the President and CEO. federation leadership, Rabbi Noah Farkas, Told eJewishPhilanthropy.

These new reports focus on four areas: Jewish Community Connections, which examines what makes Los Angeles Jews feel welcome or belong; Jewish education, which examines all aspects of children’s participation in local Jewish life; Jewish Congregations, which provides an overview of how the community participates in religious rituals and services; and Jewish Engagement, which explores the nuances of what “engagement in Jewish life” means in today’s local landscape. This last category includes spaces where Jewish activities can take place outside of a formal organizational setting, but still function as an engagement for the people who frequent them.

“Many understand engagement by looking at how people affiliate, what denomination they identify with, etc.,” Shira Rosenblatt, the conference’s deputy program director, said in a statement. “These boxes no longer accurately reflect our Jewish identities, which are more complex, less attached to specific labels and more nuanced. The Jewish Engagement Index sheds light on how people engage. Is this mostly done at home with the family, through organizations, rituals, etc.? ? Through this lens, we can better understand how to connect with the diverse families of Los Angeles. »

For example, the level of interest in programs and the community is illustrated through five categories of involvement: ritual, immersed, minimally involved, vacation and community. So while the Immersed (17%) celebrate all holidays, celebrate Shabbat weekly, attend Jewish programs, donate to Jewish causes, and read Jewish publications, and most are members of a synagogue or other spiritual community, “holiday” Jews (27% of the sample) might attend a Passover Seder, light Hanukkah candles, and occasionally mark Shabbat. Half of the respondents belong to the “Vacation” or “Minimum participation” category. The remaining 50% is almost evenly split among the remaining categories.

According to the Community Connections report, “a sense of belonging to a Jewish community in Los Angeles is directly related to participation in Jewish programs,” adding that participation is often a function of being personally invited or knowing friends. other people who go there. Among those who feel the strongest sense of belonging, 33% often attend the programs and 40% sometimes. And of those who are disconnected from the local Jewish community, 75% never participate in any Jewish program. The report further notes that “the relationship between belonging and participation is bidirectional. Participating in activities with other Jewish Angelenos is likely a result of feeling that the community cares about them, but engaging with other Los Angeles Jews also builds a sense of belonging.

“We hope these findings provide a springboard for bold conversations that ensure our Jewish community is truly open and inviting to all and lead to broader collaboration that better serves everyone,” Farkas told eJP. “The new insights will also allow us to reflect on our own practices and evolve those practices, to help build a more connected community and create data-driven solutions to improve their quality of life.”

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