Demographic study underway for Birmingham Jewish community

A survey of the Birmingham Jewish community is being undertaken by a coalition of agencies and congregations, to understand the demographics, attitudes, opinions and needs of Jewish residents in the area.

The survey is being undertaken after the 2013 Pew Research Council’s landmark national study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans.” Many other communities, including Nashville, Memphis and St. Louis, have done similar studies since then, and an academic researcher from Brandeis who was involved in many of those studies is consulting on the Birmingham study.

Claire Parker of Parker Consulting in Birmingham is overseeing the process, which began in October with emails being sent to known households so they could complete an on-line survey that takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

The responses are confidential and nobody is required to give a name. On most questions, there is an option to not answer, and space for clarifying comments.

Only one survey can be completed per household. It requests such information as number of individuals in the household, participation in the community if any, current needs and anticipated needs in the near future.

The sponsoring organizations are the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, Chabad of Alabama, Collat Jewish Family Services, Knesseth Israel, Levite Jewish Community Center, N. E. Miles Jewish Day School, Temple Beth-El and Temple Emanu-El.

As the online survey continues, there is an effort to find those in the area who are unknown to the sponsoring agencies, and links to the survey are being set up for them.

Those completing the survey can also suggest individuals they know who are Jewish but not involved in the community, so their opinions can be heard as well.

About 200 surveys were mailed to known Jewish households for whom there was no known email address.

The organizers hope to have all survey responses in by Dec. 15.

Anyone with questions may contact any of the sponsoring organizations for more information.