Help enrich the community: Take the Jewish Tidewater survey

by | Jan 31, 2020 | Other News

For the first time in 19 years, Tidewater’s Jewish community is embarking on a community needs assesment. The Jewish Tidewater Survey is designed to gather information to build a stronger, more dynamic Jewish community.

The last survey, the 2001 Jewish Community Demographic Study, revealed where Jewish people lived, how old they were, who comprised what households (ages and number of people), and many other such details.

Unlike the previous demographic survey that helped identify where people were physically, this survey adds another dimension to learn where people are on their Jewish journey, what types of services and activities they’re seeking, and how they want to be connected or contacted. The Jewish Tidewater survey will help the Jewish community understand what local Jews attend and what they don’t—and why and what services and events they want.

It’s sort of ‘report card’ time. The organized community will have an opportunity to address feedback from the entire Jewish population and use the information to create strategic priorities for Jewish Tidewater in 2020 and beyond. With candid feedback, synagogues, schools, and Jewish agencies can refresh and recharge their reach.

“I believe that the survey will do a number of things for all the organizations in our area,” says Linda Samuels, Congregation Beth El president. “It will identify our population, and help us all in our programming to reach out to the different groups who might be interested in what we are offering.”

Feedback will help address what Jewish Tidewater can be, what members need, and what they find meaningful.

“The Jewish Community Needs Assessment will provide the 757 Jewish institutions (schools, synagogues, agencies, JCC and the Federation) with not only insights into what are the priorities and interests of individuals and families, but also information that will help us understand the make-up of our community,” says Amy Levy, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater president. “With such information, we can build upon the appropriate existing services and programs and create and innovate new programs.”

The survey is for anyone in Tidewater who identifies as Jewish, or lives with someone who is Jewish, and is at least 18 years old. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.

“We will have an identifiable population and a good idea of our actual size. I think, from what I have seen of the actual survey questions, that it will also give us access to our respondents’ true feelings, which will also help us as we program for the future,” says Samuels.

This survey provides each and every Jewish adult in the community a voice regardless of affiliation. Names are not connected to responses, even if submitted at the end to win a prize.

“Tell us what you’re seeking Jewishly in 2020. If you have Jewish friends, encourage them to lend their voice, regardless of their affiliation or beliefs,” says Levy.

“My hope is that everyone will take the 15 minutes required to complete this survey,” continues Levy. “Building and sustaining a strong Jewish community is not dependent upon a few. In fact, it takes a team working together.”

Be heard. Voice an opinion. Take the survey at

– Lisa Richmon