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Author(s): Staetsky, L. Daniel
Date: 2017
Abstract: This study takes an in-depth look at attitudes towards Jews and Israel among the population of Great Britain, both across society as a whole, and in key subgroups within the population, notably the far-left, the far-right, Christians and Muslims. It introduces the concept of the ‘elastic view’ of antisemitism, arguing that as antisemitism is an attitude, it exists at different scales and levels of intensity. Thus no single figure can capture the level of antisemitism in society, and all figures need to be carefully explained and understood. It finds that only a small proportion of British adults can be categorised as ‘hard-core’ antisemites – approximately 2% – yet antisemitic ideas can be found at varying degrees of intensity across 30% of British society. Whilst this categorically does not mean that 30% of the British population is antisemitic, it does demonstrate the outer boundary of the extent to which antisemitic ideas live and breathe in British society. As such, it goes some way towards explaining why British Jews appear to be so concerned about antisemitism, as the likelihood of them encountering an antisemitic idea is much higher than that suggested by simple measures of antisemitic individuals. In this way, the research draws an important distinction between ‘counting antisemites’ and ‘measuring antisemitism’ – the counts for each are very different from one another, and have important implications for how one tackles antisemitism going forward. The research finds that levels of anti-Israelism are considerably higher than levels of anti-Jewish feeling, and that the two attitudes exist both independently of one another and separately. However, the research also demonstrates that the greater the intensity of anti-Israel attitude, the more likely it is to be accompanied by antisemitic attitudes as well. Looking at subgroups within the population, the report finds that levels of antisemitism and anti-Israelism among Christians are no different from those found across society as a whole, but among Muslims they are considerably higher on both counts. On the political spectrum, levels of antisemitism are found to be highest among the far-right, and levels of anti-Israelism are heightened across all parts of the left-wing, but particularly on the far-left. In all cases, the higher the level of anti-Israelism, the more likely it is to be accompanied by antisemitism. Yet, importantly, most of the antisemitism found in British society exists outside of these three groups – the far-left, far-right and Muslims; even at its most heightened levels of intensity, only about 15% of it can be accounted for by them.
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.
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.
Date: 2015
Abstract: An innovative study looking at UK census data through the lens of the household – or Jewish family – shows that only a quarter of all Jewish homes are comprised of the stereotypical married couple with children, and two out of three Jewish households in Britain have no children living in them at all. It further demonstrates that an estimated 17,600 Jews aged 65 or above live alone, the majority of whom are women.

The report, entitled Jewish families and Jewish households: Census insights into how we live, is the latest in a series of reports published by JPR that draw on data from the 2011 Census to understand key aspects of contemporary Jewish life in Britain. It is the most comprehensive report on these data published so far, and reveals a number of important insights, hitherto unknown.

Amongst these, it demonstrates that a third of all Jewish households have people living within them who are either not Jewish, or whose Jewish status is unclear. On the face of it, this represents little change over the decade since 2001, but close examination of the data indicate that there has been an increase in the number of Jews living with people who say they have no religion, alongside a decrease in the number of Jews living with people who have a different religion.

The report also investigates differences in household make-up between Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities, and demonstrates that Jews are far less likely than average to cohabit or to live in single parent families – a finding which indicates that the traditional Jewish family is holding up relatively well in the face of general changes in family formation habits in Britain. On the other hand, a higher proportion of Jewish households have people aged 65 or over living alone in them than British households in general, or for that matter, the households of almost every other minority group in the UK.

In addition, household data from the census provide valuable insights into the lives of students and young adults, revealing that there are more Jewish students based in Gateshead than any other city in the UK. Nottingham and Birmingham follow quite closely behind, and both Oxford and Cambridge feature among the top seven locations for Jewish students. One in five young adults aged 25-29 still live with their parents, and the proportion in that age group living alone declined by about a third between 2001 and 2011, probably due to issues around affordability.
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: Part of a four-part series funded by the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe that looks at Jewish life in east-central Europe since the collapse of communism, the Ukraine report calls for the development of a common organisational framework to bring together the various Jewish communities throughout the country; support from international foundations to enable the Jewish community to become less dependent on external sources of financial support; and a more inclusive policy on Jewish status issues given the high levels of intermarriage in the country.

In addition, the report stresses the need for enhancements in the field of Jewish education, with a particular emphasis on increasing the number of trained teachers and educators, and access to better quality Russian and Ukrainian-language educational materials. Given the extraordinary history of Jewish life in the country, the recommendations also push for the preservation of this heritage and the utilisation of it for community development purposes.

The report also explores the issue of antisemitism in Ukraine, and calls for the establishment of a centre to monitor antisemitic incidents, and to liaise with government, the police and security services to counter it.

The research was conducted by community activist and doctoral student Darina Privalko under the advice of Dr Betsy Gidwitz, a former Soviet-area specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Versions of the report are also available in Russian and English. This is the Ukrainian version
Date: 2014
Abstract: Part of a four-part series funded by the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe that looks at Jewish life in east-central Europe since the collapse of communism, the Ukraine report calls for the development of a common organisational framework to bring together the various Jewish communities throughout the country; support from international foundations to enable the Jewish community to become less dependent on external sources of financial support; and a more inclusive policy on Jewish status issues given the high levels of intermarriage in the country.

In addition, the report stresses the need for enhancements in the field of Jewish education, with a particular emphasis on increasing the number of trained teachers and educators, and access to better quality Russian and Ukrainian-language educational materials. Given the extraordinary history of Jewish life in the country, the recommendations also push for the preservation of this heritage and the utilisation of it for community development purposes.

The report also explores the issue of antisemitism in Ukraine, and calls for the establishment of a centre to monitor antisemitic incidents, and to liaise with government, the police and security services to counter it.

The research was conducted by community activist and doctoral student Darina Privalko under the advice of Dr Betsy Gidwitz, a former Soviet-area specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Versions of the report are also available in Ukrainian and English. This is the Russian version
Author(s): Privalko, Darina
Date: 2014
Abstract: Part of a four-part series funded by the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe that looks at Jewish life in east-central Europe since the collapse of communism, the Ukraine report calls for the development of a common organisational framework to bring together the various Jewish communities throughout the country; support from international foundations to enable the Jewish community to become less dependent on external sources of financial support; and a more inclusive policy on Jewish status issues given the high levels of intermarriage in the country.

In addition, the report stresses the need for enhancements in the field of Jewish education, with a particular emphasis on increasing the number of trained teachers and educators, and access to better quality Russian and Ukrainian-language educational materials. Given the extraordinary history of Jewish life in the country, the recommendations also push for the preservation of this heritage and the utilisation of it for community development purposes.

The report also explores the issue of antisemitism in Ukraine, and calls for the establishment of a centre to monitor antisemitic incidents, and to liaise with government, the police and security services to counter it.

The research was conducted by community activist and doctoral student Darina Privalko under the advice of Dr Betsy Gidwitz, a former Soviet-area specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Versions of the report are also available in Ukrainian and Russian.

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