The Jewish Community Federation Launches Seminal Bay Area-wide Jewish Community Study

Selects Preeminent Research Team for Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities

San Francisco, CA – The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (the Federation) is pleased to announce the formal launch of a major community study – A Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities. A central part of Federation Forward, the Portrait will be a comprehensive, Bay Area-wide assessment of community needs, demographics, and key aspects of Jewish life, literacy, and engagement. It will include a major and unprecedented population study of Jews in the Bay Area. The Portrait’s data will inform and advance the work of the region’s broad array of Jewish institutions, philanthropists, innovators, and activists in creating vibrant, diverse, inclusive, and secure Jewish communities for years to come.

Leading the research team will be Professor Steven M. Cohen, preeminent sociologist of American Jewry (research professor at Hebrew Union College and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford University), with Dr. Jack Ukeles* of UAI, Inc. and Dr. Ashley Grosse** of YouGov, in partnership with Measure of America,*** a project of the Social Science Research Council. This will be the first geographically integrated study of the Bay Area’s Jewish population, and the first to include longitudinal data collection to help track progress toward deepening Jewish engagement over the next decade. The Portrait is estimated to be released in late 2017.

Spearheaded by the Federation, the Portrait is made possible through generous funding by the Jim Joseph Foundation, Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Koret Foundation, Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, Levine-Lent Family Foundation, Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund, Taube Philanthropies, Sinai Memorial Chapel, and several individual donors.

“This historic study represents an essential step for all of us in the organized Bay Area Jewish community in charting our path forward,” said Danny Grossman, CEO of the Federation. “We believe that the information we gather – through a methodical, innovative, and rigorous process – will not only inform our work over the coming years but be a game-changer in supporting our community and meeting its needs more directly. This study will be the first-ever Bay Area-wide Jewish portrait and the most comprehensive picture of our community to date. At this pivotal moment of growth, change, and diversity, we all gain from a better understanding of ourselves and our social landscape. I want to wholeheartedly thank each foundation and donor that has made possible this momentous undertaking for our community.”

“Over the years, Jewish community studies certainly have produced not only valuable insights for communal policy and planning purposes, but, quite often, they have also come up with findings that surprise both community leaders and the researchers,” said Professor Steven M. Cohen. “The Bay Area Jewish population – with its vast geographic expanse, social diversity, and distinctive regional culture – promises to yield fascinating and novel findings. Not only does the research team – Dr. Jack Ukeles, Dr. Ashley Grosse and I – hope to paint a rich and complex portrait of both Jews and non-Jews in Bay Area households, we also seek to produce research that will enlighten North American Jewry about this truly distinctive – and possibly very instructive – Northern California Jewish community.”

The Portrait will incorporate innovative and rigorous methodology and approaches to fulfil a number of important objectives:

  • To estimate the size and geographic distribution of the Bay Area Jewish population, broadly defined;
  • To measure and describe the socio-demographics, economic characteristics, Jewish connections (traditional and non-traditional), and social service needs of the Jewish community;
  • To gather data and information from this population to inform the development of an online Jewish Community Index, which will establish and display current benchmarks of Jewish connections and engagement; and,
  • To establish a longitudinal (long-term) research design to track changes in the Jewish Community Index over time.

For this study, the target population is Jewish households in 10 Greater Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano, Napa, and Santa Cruz.

*Dr. Jack Ukeles is founder and president of Ukeles Associates, Inc., a management, planning and policy research firm that has completed 25 Jewish community studies, including San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago and New York.

**Dr. Ashley Grosse is senior vice president at YouGov, an international survey research firm. Grosse has 20 years of experience managing some of the nation’s largest and most complex survey projects for university academics and medical researchers. She works at YouGov, based in Redwood City, California.

***Measure of America (MOA) specializes in creating methodologically sound and easy-to-use tools for understanding well-being in America’s communities. MOA’s work in California includes a series of “Portrait” reports (Portrait of California, Portrait of Marin, Portrait of Sonoma County) that have stimulated fact-based dialogue and policy reforms to address disparities in key well-being areas. MOA will be developing the online Jewish Community Index informed by the study.

The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at

For immediate release

August 02, 2016