Nationwide study of SA’s Jewish population set for 2019


‘Religion’ is no longer asked in the South African Census and so communal surveys have become highly valued sources of information about the Jewish population. 

The most recent national survey on the Jewish population of South Africa was conducted 14 years ago in 2005 and the figures are increasingly outdated.

A new survey of the South African Jewish community will be conducted in early 2019 by the Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town (KC) and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) in London.

This is truly a once-in-a-decade opportunity to gather data on a wide range of topics of major interest to Jewish community groups, organisations, and leaders to help them better plan for the future.

“Investment in Jewish communal life in South Africa significantly benefits from being based on reliable and timely data.

“The data from the study will assist with community planning, service provision, care needs, Jewish schooling and other communal programmes that strengthen the vibrancy of Jewish life in the country for the South African community to look forward to a sustainable, vibrant and secure future we must understand who we are today: How do we express our Jewish identity? How do we give? What are our core Jewish values? How is life in South Africa?” says Associate Professor Adam Mendelsohn, Director of the Kaplan Centre. 

The study will examine religious beliefs, intermarriage, communal affiliations, social attitudes, Jewish education, charitable giving, connection to Israel, experience of antisemitism, socioeconomics, international and national migration, health and care needs.

The questionnaire is being compiled by JPR and KC and these organisations will also carry out the initial data analyses. The survey will be administered online by a major global polling company.

Mendelsohn says the survey team is taking an innovative approach to sampling the Jewish population and will draw on existing Jewish community databases but will also utilise the power of social media and online communal networks to reach far and wide into the Jewish population. The survey will be completely anonymous and no personally identifying information (like names, addresses or contact details) will be collected.

See the survey website and Facebook page for updates and information about how to get involved and


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