Moving Towards a more Vibrant and Diverse Jewish Community in Santa Clara County: A Community-wide Study that explores being Jewish in these Changing Times
The pandemic has proven to be a rupture in time that has transformed the present and the future far beyond a return to “normalcy”. Our communities are forever changed; loved ones have moved away, newcomers have arrived. Babies have been born and elders have passed on. Our natural environment is changing before our eyes.
In light of these hardships and blessings, changes and transformations, internally, interpersonally, communally, organizationally, regionally, and globally, we must take a look at where we find ourselves in this moment.
With full financial support from the Chai House Board of Directors, Jewish Silicon Valley is helping conduct a community-wide study to produce a broader and deeper understanding of the makeup and assets of the Jewish community in Santa Clara County. Through this study, we are hoping to establish a continual learning network that is responsive to changes and growth within the community from this point onwards.
In 2018, the Jewish Federation of San Francisco commissioned a Bay Area-wide study of the Jewish Community that provided a glimpse into the demographics of Jewish life in the region. In 2022, the San Francisco JCRC released a study that explored Jewish identity through the lens of how Bay Area Jews see themselves. This study serves as a departure from these Bay Area-wide examinations by providing a closer look at the Jewish population of Santa Clara County specifically, a region that has been chronically overlooked.
We are partnering with Rosov Consulting, a premiere Jewish organizational consulting firm with deep roots in the Bay Area Jewish world, to conduct a multi-faceted, twelve to fifteen month-long study of the Jewish Silicon Valley community. The study began in the fall of 2022 and will conclude in the fall of 2023.
The goal of this study is twofold: to identify who makes up the Jewish population within Santa Clara County and to understand the availability and gaps of Jewish assets and resources.
In order to carry out these goals, the study consists of three main components: qualitative research groups, an interactive map of the region, and a general population survey,
Qualitative Research Groups: Everyone brings a different perspective
Each group will be organized around a range of shared characteristics and/or interests, including members of interfaith families, immigrants, parents of young children, people who identify as culturally Jewish, people who identify as LGBTQ+, or residents of the same neighborhoods, etc.
The focus groups will explore the “hows” and “whys” that matter most to our community, and consist of a range of sizes, including a combination of parlor meetings (20–25 people), focus groups (6–8 people), and small group or individual conversations (1–3 people).
Interactive Community Map: What is the Jewish geography of Santa Clara County? are the communal focal points, where are the gaps?
The interactive map of the region will feature a variety of information that will be made publicly available upon the completion of the study. The map will show:
- Zip codes of areas with a density of Jewish households
- Physical locations of all Jewish communal organizations in the area.
- Physical locations of other community assets that may be primary partners with those in the Jewish organizational ecosystem (e.g., early childhood centers; other independent schools; etc.)
The mapped information will correspond to greater detail about the Jewish communal organizations with information about programs, services, activities, and events. This map and more detailed information will help illuminate the communal assets that we currently have while also revealing gaps in services to the wider community.
General Population Survey: Understanding Demographics, Identity, and Community
The survey is meant to be filled out by as many community members as possible. It is critical for the community-at large to fill out the survey to ensure it adequately reflects the Jewish population. The survey explores three main categories:
- Demographic and identity characteristics including, for example, age, gender identity, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ identity, geographic region/neighborhood, disabilities, length of time in community, immigrant status, etc.
- Connection to Jewish life
- Access to life services
We are confident that this study will reveal critical information necessary for ensuring that the diversity of people who make up the Jewish community in the Silicon Valley are well supported by whatever resources they need to be connected to community and able to thrive in the Silicon Valley.
We are eager to continue moving through this process and are open to any feedback, questions, or comments that come up. We are hopeful for your support through this process and will continue to update the community through this blog and through a section on the JSV website as the study progresses.
Click here to visit our Community Study page.