Board leads online review of women in the community

By Simon Rocker, October 10, 2008

A new survey into Jewish women was launched this week with an online questionnaire on the Board of Deputies website.

It is planned as a follow-up study to the 1994 review of women in the Jewish community conducted at the behest of Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.

The head of the original review was Rosalind Preston, a former president of the National Council of Women, who has returned to oversee the project which this time will be carried out in partnership with the Board.

"We want to review what has happened over the past 15 years," she explained. "But it is not just a backward-looking exercise. We want to look forward. The report will be a picture of what the community has to say about these issues today and for the future."

Both men and women are being encouraged to complete the questionnaire, which went live this week on the Board's website (www.boardof The online survey will be supplemented by focus groups in and outside London.

The organisers are keen to reach across the community, from people distanced from organised Jewish society to the strictly Orthodox - and particularly those too young to be involved in the 1990s. "Hopefully it will be wrapped up and published before the end of the current Board's triennial in May," Mrs Preston said.

The research will be divided into four main areas - education, synagogue and prayer, social and family issues and get and divorce.

The project manager will be Marlena Schmool, the Board's former head of community research. Other key members of the team include Judge Dawn Freedman, UJIA research director Helena Miller and the new chief executive of the Jewish Volunteering Network, Leonie Lewis.

A number of "community-minded and generous" women were funding the new research, Mrs Preston reported.


Last updated: 2:28pm, October 8 2008