I don’t often tell people what to do (although I often ask them nicely to consider doing or giving things) except on this occasion. You should
come to hear Dr. Steven M. Cohen
speak on September 5th at the JCC in Squirrel Hill as part of the Conversations for a Jewish Future series, conducted in partnership by the Federation and the Agency for Jewish Learning.
If you ever read statistic or headlines about the Jewish world, like the % of Jews who attend religious school, the intermarriage rate, the number of Jews who celebrate Passover, the % of Jews who have traveled to Israel, the impact of Birthright Israel on Jewish identity, etc, then you already know Steven Cohen’s work. He is one the world’s leading Jewish demographers and sociologists and is behind much of this critical data gathering and evaluation. His session on September 5th is entitled, ENOUGH TALK, NOW PROVE IT: Predicting the Future of our Community with Real Data. You are going to be able to hear from him not only what the statistics show about the challenge of Jewish continuity, but successful initiatives to positively impact those statistics.
To have someone of Steven’s caliber visit Pittsburgh is very special and it is made possible by some very generous donors who want the community to understand the challenge the Jewish people faces of waning Jewish identity. Too often we analyze a situation by our own experiences or our own “gut”. Some might say, for example, my kid had a great experience at their Jewish summer camp or at their day school. Data can show us the real impact of those experiences not only on our own child, but in aggregate across the community. Utilizing data must be a significant part of the way we as a community make decisions and the data can help inform your own personal decisions, as well. To sign up for this and future Conversations for a Jewish Future sessions, click here.
Today is a very special day for me. Not only is it Shabbat, it is my 14th anniversary of working for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. There is no need to send me emails of congratulations nor personal gifts, just keep giving generously to and through our amazing Federation.
Jeffrey H. Finkelstein