The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) have today announced a new alliance to ensure that essential research continues to be conducted on behalf of the community.
The Board, which has long held responsibility for collecting basic data on the shape and size of the community – including births, marriages and deaths, synagogue membership and school enrolment – has signed an agreement with JPR which will enable JPR to gather these statistics on its behalf. JPR has expanded its research team to take on this additional work, appointing Dr Shlomit Flint as a Senior Research Fellow. Dr Flint is an expert in geography and public policy, who has previously held academic positions at Tel Aviv University, University College London and Princeton University.
Whilst the two organisations have collaborated on multiple research initiatives in the past, the deal formalises the relationship for the first time. It will make the most of the professional expertise that exists at JPR, while continuing to ensure that the community has access to accurate data to inform the planning of a wide range of issues from school places to support for the elderly.
Commenting on the agreement, Board of Deputies Vice President Sheila Gewolb, said:
“This is great news for the Board and the community. The agreement makes sound financial sense, and ensures that we will have access to reliable data. I hope the partnership will provide a model for communal planning in the future. Given the size of our community, it makes sense to bring together all the research expertise we have under a single roof, to avoid duplication and to enable each communal organisation to focus its skills and resources effectively.”
Dr Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of JPR, added:
“These data play an essential role in community planning. They help us to monitor how the Jewish population is changing over time, both in terms of its demographic characteristics and how Jews choose to affiliate and identify. The data also play a critical role in any social surveys of Jews in Britain – indeed, no reliable survey can realistically be conducted without them. JPR is delighted to be able to play a key role in this work going forward, which very much complements and supports our existing research portfolio.”
The first Board of Deputies/JPR report looking at recent births, marriages and deaths data, is expected to be published in 2016.