Gen17 community survey a blueprint for the future

February 16, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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How important is connectedness to Jewish communal life? What proportion of Jewish Australians is concerned by the level of antisemitism? What proportion of young parents considers the cost of Jewish education prohibitive?

The Melamed Family

These are among the many subjects covered in the Gen17 Australian Jewish community survey.

Nine years after the ground-breaking Gen08 survey, Gen17 will update previous findings to guide communal planning into the next decade, providing new insights in the community’s resources and needs and evaluating change in the outlook and priorities of Jewish Australians.

In 2008 more than 5,840 surveys were completed, making it the largest survey of its kind in the Diaspora. It produced data for eight separate reports.

Nina Buchman, Ingrid Jacobson, Audrey Goldberg, Aaron Buchman

Again, the survey is a joint project of Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) and JCA (formerly the Jewish Communal Appeal). In Melbourne it is being led by Professor Andrew Markus who holds the Pratt Foundation Research Chair of Jewish Civilisation and in Sydney by JCA’s Head of planning and projects Alain Hasson and Dr David Graham, JCA demographic research consultant and Institute for Jewish Policy Research senior fellow.

Markus said Gen17 was 10 different surveys rolled into one. “It is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for individual input into community planning. It is only the fourth general survey conducted in the Melbourne Jewish community in the last 50 years.”

Graham said the survey mattered because unlike the census which was second to none at counting the Jewish population, only a survey could deliver data needed to understand Jewish life in Australia.

“This survey will provide a deeper understanding of the three Bs of Jewish communal life: belief, belonging and behaviour.”

JCA vice president and planning chair Danny Goldberg said Gen17 combined with the data from last year’s Census would provide communal organisations with accurate, current data on the community. “What are your beliefs? What are your needs? Are they being met? What are we missing?”

Hasson said the survey’s results and insights would be pivotal in shaping all Australian Jewish communities’ futures and assist in directing communal funds where they were most needed.

In a joint statement, ECAJ president Anton Block and executive director Peter Wertheim said Gen17 would build on the Gen08 survey which had been an indispensable source of information, providing the foundation for further understanding the demographic characteristics of the Jewish population and of constant and changing patterns within Australia’s Jewish communities.

“The Gen08 data was collated and analysed in publications about Jewish education, poverty and emergency relief, antisemitism, aged care and Jewish continuity, which have been invaluable for communal planning.”

Gen17 is co-funded by JCA, Monash University, Education Heritage Foundation, Gandel Philanthropy, Pratt Foundation, Besen Family Foundation, Cher Family Foundation, Jewish Care Victoria and Australian Jewish Funders and supported by key communal organisations.

As before, the questionnaire is available for completion online. The project is undertaken under Monash University Ethics guidelines and no personal or identifying information is collected.

To participate in Gen17, go to


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