Data-Driven Decision Making: A Communal Imperative

Fall 2018

Source: Jewish Action


We are enormously excited to announce the creation of the Orthodox Union’s Center for Communal Research, and welcome its new director, Matt Williams. The Center for Communal Research will advance the OU’s mission to better understand and serve the Jewish community by developing a high-quality base of data, knowledge and insights about our community through a carefully conceived and executed research agenda. The Center will be the central address for all OU research and evaluation projects. It will study how people learn how to live Jewish lives; how day school graduates and college students relate to God and Orthodoxy; how our community members feel about a multitude of issues facing them, and the ways in which institutions have made—and can make—an impression on their identities; as well as the opportunities and challenges facing our community.

We anticipate that the Center’s research will form the basis for published research and symposia on selected issues of communal concern. In addition to its external research agenda that will study the larger American Jewish community, with an emphasis on Orthodoxy, the Center will also focus on internal program evaluation, which will assist in the strategic development and enhancement of OU departments and programs.

One of the tasks of the OU Center for Communal Research will be to explore the likelihood that Orthodox Jews will constitute the majority of American Jewry before the end of the century—and the potential consequences of this probability.

We must begin to plan now for a future Jewish America in which the fate of American Jewry will increasingly rest on our shoulders. And, if so, what must that planning process look like? Here is a random sample of the types of issues that we will face and need to plan for. I have selected but a few of the myriad potential examples to illustrate the magnitude and complexity of the task before us:

  • Our Expanded Obligation for Outreach
  • Numbers Matter—Will American Jews Maintain their Important Place in the Public Square
  • The Relationship Between Diaspora and Israel

Read the entire article in Jewish Action

Updated: Oct. 04, 2018