This spring, as COVID-19 transformed our world, The Associated partnered with The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University to examine the impact of the pandemic on the Jewish community. Baltimore was one of 10 communities that participated in the study, which drew data from more than 1,300 local respondents and 15,000 respondents nationally.
“The Associated embraces the use of data to drive our decision-making, and we are committed to pursuing research opportunities that provide greater access to reliable data. Participating in this study gave us the opportunity to better understand rapidly-changing community needs,” said Marty Himeles, Chair of The Associated’s Research and Grants Workgroup.
“The Associated embraces the use of data to drive our decision-making, and we are committed to pursuing research opportunities that provide greater access to reliable data.”
Respondents were surveyed about their experiences during the early months of the pandemic with a particular focus on their social and emotional health, economic well-being and relationship with Jewish institutions.
One key finding revealed that the pandemic has had a disproportionate mental health impact on young adults. 55% of respondents between the ages of 18-34 said that they were experiencing emotional or mental difficulties that hurt their ability to live their day-to-day life in the past week. This finding is in line with other national studies that have pointed to the significant mental health impact of the pandemic on young adults.
The study also reinforced the value of online Jewish life to help respondents cope with the pandemic and maintain Jewish connections in the absence of in-person activities. Respondents who were more active online were more likely to feel connected to local and global Jewish communities. However, it also underscored the limitations of online Jewish engagement, which was more effective at connecting respondents to programs and resources than to other people.
Findings from the study will help inform The Associated’s continued COVID-19 response in the months ahead.
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