Next steps for community demographic study

By Eileen Freed, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor

According to just-released data, the Washtenaw County area Jewish community is much larger than previously thought.

Estimates from the past 20+ years had suggested the local Jewish population was approximately 8,000 Jews, in 3,000 households.

But with a population of 11,000 households, and 20,000 Jewish individuals — including 3,900 Jewish children — the unexpectedly large size of the community is one of the most significant and exciting data points in the 2022–2023 Washtenaw County Area Jewish Community Study: A Data-Driven Collaboration.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, in partnership with local Jewish communal organizations and congregations, commissioned this demographic study of Jewish Washtenaw County to provide a current portrait of the local Jewish community and give needed insight to build the most welcoming, innovative, and vibrant Jewish community possible.

The results of the study were presented publicly at a community Town Hall in April. A document of highlights, plus the full 160-page report and public-use data set, are all available online at www.jewishannarbor.org/communitystudy.

While the study itself is complete, the community’s work to translate data into action is just beginning. This report is the starting point for introspection, deeper conversation, and collaborative strategic planning.

Federation Board President Decky Alexander emphasizes that the next steps are a necessary continuation of the process started by the study. “As with other communities across the U.S. who have engaged in data-driven planning, I hope that the study gives us, if not a roadmap, a light on how to best engage, serve, and support each other now and in the future,” she says.

To this end, a Community Visioning and Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Robin Pollak and Megan Bernard, has been formed. This committee brings together a diverse group of community members who will, over the course of the next year, work to develop a community strategic plan to enhance local Jewish life, using the valid data of the study as a foundation to identify communal values and goals. Members of the community who are interested in serving on the committee are encouraged to contact Eileen Freed at [email protected].

The visioning and planning process will be conducted in partnership with volunteer leaders, community organizations, program providers, and the community writ large to explore the data collected in the study, identify new questions, and continue to learn about communal needs and desires.

To learn more about the study, visit www.jewishannarbor.org/communitystudy or contact Eileen Freed at [email protected].

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *