Survey results to shape future

By Marcus Dysch, February 17, 2011

The largest study of Jewish student identity and what it means to be Jewish on campus was launched this week.

It is expected the results will shape the community's work with students for the next decade.

The survey has been commissioned by UJS Hillel and is being conducted by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR).

Jonathan Boyd, executive director of JPR, said: "Our primary goal is to understand who Jewish students are today, what is important to them about their Jewishness, how they relate to community initiatives and organisations, what concerns them and what really matters to them as Jews on campus."

Leading global research company Ipsos Mori has been enlisted to collect data from around the country.

A range of issues will be covered by the investigation, including the relationship between a student's upbringing and their beliefs and aspirations.

It will focus particularly on their community affiliations - to synagogues, schools and youth movements - as well as their social lives, perceptions of Jewish life and the overall experience of Jewish life on campus in 2011.

Students will be encouraged to take part through Facebook and email participation.

Online surveys began on Tuesday, with the focus groups due to get underway in April.

Mr Boyd said: "We expect the survey findings to inform the wider Jewish community's policy on students for the foreseeable future.

"It is vital that all Jewish students take this unique opportunity to complete the survey and make sure their voices are heard."

Dan Marcus, chief executive of UJS Hillel, said: "This exciting initiative will give us important insights into this particularly formative stage in the lives of young Jewish adults.

"By learning more about the identities of Jewish students, UJS will be even better placed to meet the realities on campus as students find them."

He said UJS would use the results of the research to form the organisation's future policies.

JPR expects to issue its final report in the autumn.

Funding for the project has come from the Pears Foundation, UJIA, the Rothschild Foundation (Europe) and the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation.

Last updated: 2:49pm, February 17 2011