In an unprecedented moment for Jews around the world with the massacre and ensuing war in Israel amidst a dramatic rise in antisemitism, five of the major local Jewish organizations will convene for “A Community Gathering + Conversation” to learn more about the results of the first study of San Diego’s Jewish community in 20 years. The community is invited to gather to discuss the components of the study that delved into antisemitism and San Diego’s strong connection to Israel as well as many other findings.
The major demographic study and needs assessment of San Diego County and Temecula’s Jewish population, compiled by the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS and the Leichtag Foundation will be shared at an interactive public event—“Blueprint for Our Future: A Community Gathering + Conversation”—Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center‒Jacobs Family Campus from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The comprehensive report, conducted by Brandeis University and NORC at the University of Chicago, details the unique needs and insights of San Diego’s 100,700-member Jewish community.
According to Betzy Lynch, CEO of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, the event is designed for community members to discuss the new report and “engage in crucial dialogue about who we are, how we view the most important issues facing us today, and what it means to be Jewish in an interactive and collaborative way.”
“Our goal was to gather actionable and usable data that sheds light on what Jews in San Diego County think and feel,” said Beth Sirull, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego. “We believe this study achieves that—and that it will be vital for our community, providing the up-to-date data needed to make informed decisions and ultimately help us direct valuable resources to where they are needed and address unmet needs moving forward.”The new report marks the first time since 2003 that a comprehensive demographic study has been conducted to research San Diego’s Jewish community.
This will be a good time to be together as a Jewish community to learn and show solidarity,” said Charlene Seidle, executive vice president of the Leichtag Foundation. “Jewish life in our region has changed dramatically in 20 years, even more so since the horrific events of October 7.”
“We are confident the study will be a catalyst for all the Jewish agencies and numerous partners to work together to best serve San Diego’s Jewish community,” said Jewish Federation CEO Heidi Gantwerk.
Key findings include:
• Seventy percent of local Jewish adults are very concerned about antisemitism around the world, and 64% are very concerned about antisemitism in the United States.
• San Diego has a significant aging population of Jews (17%) – in comparison to San Diegans in general and Jews nationwide. Nine percent of Jewish adults are Holocaust survivors or World War II refugees.
• Thirty percent of Jewish adults are relative newcomers to San Diego, with more than half younger than age 35.
• Half of Jewish adults volunteered for at least one organization in the previous year.
• Thirteen percent of Jewish children are identified by their parents as persons of color.
• About 19-22% of Jewish households earn under 80% of the area
Median Income, which is defined as low-income in San Diego County, with about one-third of these financially struggling households saying they could not afford a $400 emergency expense.
“We cast a wide net to collect accurate data about the beliefs, challenges and needs of the Jewish population in San Diego, which will be critical to our efforts as we strive to service San Diego’s Jewish population now and in the future,” said Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service. “We look forward to sharing the study’s findings and invite the community to collaborate with us on Dec. 3 as we work to make meaningful and crucial decisions for the future.”
Plans for the design and development of “A Blueprint for our Future” got underway in the spring of 2021, when the five local Jewish organizations teamed up to embark on a collaborative community study. This work was jointly funded by the leadership organizations, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and generous local donors.
To learn more about the community study, gather as a community and share important insights, the public can attend “Blueprint for our Future: A Community Gathering + Conversation.” Pre-registration is required at www.lfjcc.org/study.