Search results

Your search found 23 items
copy result link
You ran an advanced options search
Sort: Relevance | Topics | Title | Author | Publication Year
Home  /  Search Results
Date: 2017
Abstract: This study, which was produced by JPR on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, takes an in-depth statistical look at synagogue membership figures in the UK. Synagogue membership data have been gathered and analysed consistently over several decades, and constitute the best measure of Jewish communal affiliation in the UK that exists. They provide the only consistent indicator of patterns of Jewish affiliation and belonging over time, and are thus of particular interest to community leaders and planners. The report, authored by JPR researchers Dr Donatella Casale Mashiah and Dr Jonathan Boyd, finds that despite the fact that there are now 454 synagogues in the UK – the largest number ever recorded – synagogue membership numbers have dropped below 80,000 households for the first time since records began. Indeed, there has been a 20% decline over a quarter of a century, and a 4% decline since the last such report was published in 2010. However, the overall decline masks important developments at a denominational level. Critically, the sector that has declined most sharply is central Orthodoxy – broadly understood as the United Synagogue, the Federation and various independent modern Orthodox synagogues dotted around the country – which collectively have seen a 37% drop since 1990. This decline is partly due to disaffection, but it has also been driven considerably by natural decrease – more members dying than being born. In contrast, membership of strictly Orthodox synagogues is growing. Indeed, it has grown dramatically over time – by 139% since 1990. A generation ago, the strictly Orthodox comprised 4.5% of all synagogue members households; today they comprise 13.5%. This growth is driven almost exclusively by demographic forces – particularly, high birth rates in this sector of the community. Taken as a whole, Liberal, Reform and Masorti figures have been fairly stable over time. Liberal and Reform have both declined slightly since 1990, whereas Masorti has grown, albeit from a lower base. But this overall picture of stability is somewhat misleading: in reality, Liberal and Reform synagogues are both losing members at a similar rate to the central Orthodox ones, but unlike those central Orthodox ones, they are also attracting members from their religious ‘right’ to offset those losses.
Date: 2015
Abstract: An important study using UK Census data to assess how the composition of the British Jewish population is likely to change over the coming decades.

UK Census data continues to be by far and away the most comprehensive and valuable dataset that exists on the UK Jewish population as a whole. Whilst the census does not capture the entire Jewish population, census data allow us to examine the socio-demographic characteristics of the Jewish population in greater detail than any other source. In this report, we utilise these data to explore how the numerical balance between the 'mainstream' and the strictly Orthodox (haredi) Jewish population is shifting over time, and what the age profiles and total fertility rates of both groups indicate about the future.

In particular, we highlight how the haredi population is growing at an extraordinarily fast rate, due to its rare combination of high fertility and low mortality. By contrast, the non-haredi Jewish population is declining, not least due to its below replacement level fertility. We note how these measures, combined with an analysis of population momentum over time, help us to develop a probable picture of a future in which the haredi population will become an increasingly large part of the whole.

Whilst this is a demographic certainty, the report also notes that 30% of all haredi adults are aged 15-24. Proportions at this type of level in other populations worldwide have been associated by political scientists and demographers with a range of social problems, not least due to the existence of large numbers of young people who are unemployed or on low incomes. There is no suggestion here that haredi Jews are likely to succumb to the worst of these problems – on the contrary, the community has very high levels of social cohesion and a large number of mechanisms that help to counteract these – but the possibility of increased apathy, disillusionment or abandonment of a strictly Orthodox lifestyle should not be dismissed. Indeed, examined from a demographic perspective, these types of possibilities represent the clearest and most obvious risks facing the haredi community.

In presenting a probable picture of the future of the British Jewish population as a whole, the findings in this report should be utilised for the specific purposes JPR intended: to help Jewish community leaders, operating either within the haredi or the non-haredi sectors, to develop policy to respond to the various challenges that are highlighted.
Author(s): Boyd, Jonathan
Date: 2013
Abstract: In light of growing evidence of exogamy among Jews and diminishing levels of community engagement, the question of how to sustain and cultivate Jewish identity has become a major preoccupation in the Jewish world since the early 1990s. Among the numerous organisations, programmes and initiatives that have been established and studied in response, Limmud, a week-long annual festival of Jewish life and learning in the UK that attracts an estimated 2,500 people per annum and has been replicated throughout the world, remains decidedly under-researched. This study is designed to understand its educational philosophy. Based upon qualitative interviews with twenty Limmud leaders, and focus group sessions with Limmud participants, it seeks to explore the purposes of the event, its content, its social and educational processes, and contextual environment. It further explores the importance of relationships in Limmud's philosophy, and the place of social capital in its practice.

The study demonstrates that Limmud's educational philosophy is heavily grounded in the interaction of competing tensions, or polarities, on multiple levels. Major categorical distinctions drawn in educational philosophy and practice, and Jewish and general sociology, are both maintained and allowed to interact. This interaction takes place in a "hospitable and charged" environment – one that is simultaneously safe, respectful and comfortable, whilst also edgy, powerful and challenging - that allows the individual freedom to explore and navigate the contours of Jewish community, and the Jewish community opportunity to envelope and nurture the experience of the individual. The study suggests that the interaction of these competing forces, in the context of an intensive Jewish experience, may be an important feature of Jewish educational initiatives attempting to respond to the identity challenges described above. More generally, in detailing a contemporary educational model that sustains religious/ethnic identity whilst emphasising critical thought and openness to competing claims and ideas, it presents an approach that may be applicable in other religious and ethnic communities.
Date: 2015
Abstract: In the aftermath of the spike in antisemitic incidents during the war in Gaza in summer 2014, and the Islamist attacks on Jews in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen, there is growing concern about rising antisemitism in Europe. Yet, as this paper shows, existing data present a complex and multi-faceted picture of reality, proving some existing hypotheses beyond any reasonable doubt, but challenging others.

It is clear, for example, that spikes in antisemitic incidents occur when war breaks out in Gaza – all data sources from multiple countries and both Jewish and non-Jewish sources show this. However, it is far less clear whether or not levels of antisemitism are rising over time in the UK: different sources of data tell competing stories, and the absence of trend data on patterns of reporting among British Jews makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions. We can see that antisemitic sentiment is particularly strong among certain sub-groups within the population, but we can also see that, taken as a whole, British adults hold largely favourable attitudes towards Jews, at levels that place Britain among the least antisemitic countries in the world.

Nevertheless, the data indicate that significant proportions of Jews in the UK and elsewhere are concerned about antisemitism. But it is evident that more work needs to be done to understand the targets of this concern – where the threats lie, and the nature and scale of the problems that exist.

In general, the report maintains that research data on antisemitism in the UK vary in quality, and despite a recent flurry of research activity, many of the outputs seem to generate far more heat than light. We argue that much more work needs to be done in coordinating research efforts, maximising the value of existing datasets, focusing on the areas of greatest concern, and ensuring that any data collected and analysed are strongly concentrated on the most important policy questions: understanding the threat, and providing genuine policy insights for international, national and Jewish communal leaders, as well as Jews more generally.
Author(s): Boyd, Jonathan
Date: 2016
Abstract: This study, financed by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and supported by UJS and the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA), is based on qualitative data gathered in focus groups held in early 2016 in several UK cities, and was designed to help UJS to refine its strategic priorities. It builds on the findings of the 2011 JPR study of Jewish students, the first in-depth look at Jewish student life in the UK.

The report highlights how key components of providing for Jewish students’ needs involve ensuring that the religiously observant are able to live full Jewish lives at university, and creating multiple frameworks for all Jewish students to explore what it means to be Jewish in an open, non-judgemental and thoughtful manner.

The report is published at a time of heightened concern about life on campus for Jewish students following violent protests at King’s College London and University College London in January and October respectively, and a reported increase in antisemitic incidents on campus in the first six months of this year.

The research finds that Jewish students rarely encounter traditional antisemitism at Britain’s universities, but notes that discourse about Israel and Zionism on campus can often be aggressive, intimidating and toxic, leaving some Jewish students frightened, angry and confused. It also includes some evidence of Jewish students being cautious about revealing their Jewish identity in public, and particularly any connections they may have with Israel. Nevertheless, it indicates that their general interactions with non-Jews on campus are typically positive, with open interest and even a desire to be included in Jewish events not uncommon.

The study highlights the importance of community in Jewish student life, and the role that Jewish Societies play in providing a home from home. It argues that JSocs should see themselves as surrogate Jewish communities, working year-on-year to create models of community that are warm, engaging and non-judgemental.
Date: 2017
Date: 2014
Abstract: Based on data commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and gathered and analysed by JPR's academic team, this is the first in a series of reports looking at the perceptions and experiences of antisemitism among Jews in different EU Member States.

This report, focusing on Jews in the UK, demonstrates that Jews feel more secure in the UK than elsewhere, but that Orthodox Jews are measurably more anxious about, and susceptible to antisemitic incidents, than non-Orthodox Jews.

It shows that over half of all Orthodox Jews in Britain are worried about becoming a victim of an antisemitic act, and that they are more than twice as likely as non-Orthodox Jews to have experienced antisemitic harassment or discrimination.

Close to two-thirds of Orthodox Jews believe antisemitism to be a problem in the UK, compared with under half of non-Orthodox Jews, and four in ten of the Orthodox avoid certain places out of fear for their safety as Jews, compared to a quarter of the non-Orthodox.

However, in general, the report shows that levels of antisemitism in the UK are significantly lower than in other Western European countries, and that Jews in Britain feel noticeably less anxious about it than elsewhere on the continent.

Further issues explored in the report include data on how Jews define antisemitism, levels of reporting of different types of antisemitic incidents, and attitudes towards legislation on brit milah (circumcision) and shechita (the methods used under Jewish law to kill animals to produce kosher meat).
Date: 2014
Date: 2010
Date: 2010
Date: 2016
Abstract: The number of Jewish children in Jewish schools has almost doubled since the mid-1990s, rising from 16,700 then to over 30,000 now, while the number of Jewish schools has jumped from 62 to 139 over the same period.

The report is the first in a series of studies being produced by the new partnership between the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, cooperating on the collection, analysis and publication of key community statistics.

The results of the study show that the majority of the 30,900 Jewish children studying in Jewish schools in 2014/15 were in haredi schools (17,500, or 57%), whilst the remainder (13,400, or 43%) were in mainstream schools. Twenty years ago, the equivalent proportions were 45% strictly Orthodox, 55% mainstream. The shifting balance provides further evidence of the changing composition of the British Jewish community.

The growth in the haredi sector is particularly striking. There are three times as many haredi schools in the UK today as there were twenty years ago, educating 10,000 more children between them.

However, the overall increase in enrolment is not exclusively due to the growth of the haredi population. A significant part of the upsurge can also be explained by developments in the non-haredi or ‘mainstream’ sector.

More than four out of ten mainstream Jewish school-age children are now studying in Jewish schools, compared with just a quarter twenty years ago. In numerical terms, that constitutes an increase of over 4,000 children. To accommodate this increase, there are 11 more Jewish schools operating in the mainstream sector than there were in the mid-1990s. Collectively, about 85% of all pupils studying in them are Jewish.

From a geographical perspective, Jewish pupil enrolment in mainstream schools in London and the surrounding areas has been growing steadily over the past twenty years, increasing by 72% since the mid-1990s. By contrast, Jewish pupil enrolment in mainstream Jewish schools outside of London has declined by 23% over the same period. In short, the mainstream Jewish school sector has become increasingly London-centric.

The geographical dynamics are very different in the haredi sector. Whilst the majority of pupils in the strictly Orthodox sector are still attending schools in London, the number in Manchester has more than trebled over the past twenty years, and the city has increased its share of haredi pupils from one in five to one in four of the total. Thus, numbers in the haredi school sector reveal a shift towards Manchester.

Search results

Your search found 23 items
copy result link
You ran an advanced options search
Sort: Relevance | Topics | Title | Author | Publication Year