SF-based Jewish Community Federation Response to Pew Survey on American Jews

Statement by Federation CEO Jennifer Gorovitz

San Francisco, CA – Today, Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (the Federation), responded to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.  The survey details a shift away from observance and tradition by American Jews, and an increase in intermarriage rates. 
Gorovitz issued the following statement:
“A new Jewish community survey by the Pew Research Center underscores many trends in American Jewry that have been in play for years and which have long concerned Jewish communal leaders nationwide.  Yes – I, too, am worried about the future of the Jewish people, and about our Federation’s challenge in confronting a powerful national and global phenomenon of assimilation and loss of Jewish identity.
“And, yet, these challenges also bolster the core mission of our Jewish Federations – to support the Jewish community while making the world a better place – while reminding us that changing and innovating to engage the next generation is not just the right path but the essential one. 
“However, I prefer not to see the bogeyman of ‘assimilation’ as an impossible negative but, rather, as the changing face of a community that has integrated into a society that is more accepting than any in our long history.  Our reasons to keep our traditions – or to remain apart – in America have increasingly had less to do with self-preservation or survival and more to do with seeking community, meaning, connection, and continuity.
“Our job as Jewish communal leaders is to help provide that community, meaning, connection and continuity to the Jewish community, whatever it looks like, without judgment.  In the Bay Area, our wonderful community is ethnically and racially diverse, religiously expansive, welcoming of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and unafraid of variety.  This is our strength.
“And there is no shortage of people, organizations, schools, camps, congregations, venues, and programs doing amazing, relevant, and meaningful work to sustain community, foster connection and meaning, and provide continuity of our Jewish identity.  It is our job as a Federation to support them – to simultaneously strengthen the core, innovate, and roll with the inevitable change.  It is also our job to redefine and expand the concept of Jewish Peoplehood to ensure that our tent is appropriately broad and flexible.”


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. Find out more at www.jewishfed.org.

For immediate release

October 01, 2013


Ilan Kayatsky