This report describes the process and results of a research study on Jewish identity and community participation in Central and Eastern Europe. In particular, it identifies trends among Jewish adults in Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania. This two-year and wide-reaching study, examined views on religious observance, Jewish identity, anti-Semitism, Israel, Jewish knowledge, and organizational affiliation among 1,270 Jews, ages 18-60.
of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), with funding from the Scottish Government, to
find out more about the variety of experience of Jewish people in Scotland, and
encourage them to identify the issues that are important to them. It has helped
SCoJeC to build a better understanding of what affects the sense of security of
Jewish individuals and communities, and thus to establish what matters to the
community, and improve our support for Jewish people in Scotland. The process
of carrying out the inquiry has itself had the result of strengthening networks
and social capital in the community, and has helped to provide support to Jewish
people throughout Scotland.
It is intended that the findings should also prove useful in assisting statutory
and voluntary organisations and agencies such as the Scottish Government,
the NHS, local authorities, education authorities, employers, faith groups, and
others to support and respond more effectively to the needs and concerns of the
More than 300 Jewish people, from Shetland to the Borders, participated in Being
Jewish in Scotland, either by attending one of the 30 focus groups and events
held as part of the project, or by completing a survey or participating in a oneto-one
Demographically, post-Soviet Jewry has seen an overall decline resulting from assimilation, intermarriage, low fertility, high mortality, and emigration of younger age cohorts. Some demographers believe that less than 500,000 Jews remain in the post-Soviet states. An intermarriage rate that some view as exceeding 80 percent creates complex situations for those Jewish groups that prefer to confine their programs to halachically Jewish individuals.
Jewish identity among Jews in Russia and Ukraine is most likely to be expressed as a sense of Jewish heritage, in particular, a common cultural or intellectual heritage, rather than a sense of common spirituality or sharply focused religious practice. Post-Soviet Jews also tend to believe that Jews should be familiar with modern Israel, but not necessarily feel obligated to live in Israel.
Unlike the less engaged, the moderately engaged report a signiﬁcant number of points of Jewish involvement (such as congregational membership, Jewish friendship ties and holiday celebration). That said, their Jewish involvement is not so extensive as to indicate a major commitment either to traditional religious piety or to signiﬁcant leadership in the organized Jewish community. From a Jewish communal policy point of view, the moderately engaged constitute a critical, if not the most critical, Jewish popu- lation segment for Jewish educational intervention on the population-scale.
This study relies upon both qualitative (depth interviews) and quantitative (social surveys) research methodologies.
of Deputies approximately every five years, is published jointly with the Institute for Jewish Policy
Synagogue membership data are of particular interest to community leaders and planners because
they provide the only consistent indicator of patterns of Jewish affiliation over time. No other survey
regularly reports on the denominational structure of the Jewish community in the UK. The data are
also unique in providing a consistent indicator of Jewish belonging – a measure of proactive
attachment and commitment to Jewish communal life.
Despite the continuing decline in synagogue affiliation over the last generation, the synagogue, as an
institution, nevertheless continues to be the principal arena of formal affiliation to the Jewish
The data presented here reveal a dynamic picture of communal change in the UK, charting changes in
the religious make-up of the community. We have sought to provide as functionally relevant a measure
of synagogue membership as possible within the limits of the data that we were able to obtain.