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Letters/Discussion Forums

Assumptions premature, as Jewish Community Survey not yet released

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Professor Adam Mendelsohn, Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies

We have noted with concern recent newspaper reports referencing the release of findings from this study. No findings have been released, and no conclusive data will be available until the study is completed later this year.

The Jewish Community Survey of South Africa is a once-a-decade study of trends within communal life. The data we collect is used to aid communal planning and give an accurate portrait of the community. Its primary goal is not to estimate the current size of the South African Jewish population.

Newspaper reports may have confused the ongoing Jewish Community Survey of South Africa with a soon-to-be-completed needs analysis of the Cape Town Jewish community. Preliminary findings of this needs analysis have been shared with the leadership of the Cape Town community. These findings relate to religious, political, and demographic trends within Cape Town. This needs analysis has not sought to develop a national picture of the Jewish community, but has collected important data about Cape Town that we will release once this study is complete.

We strongly advise and caution against assumptions about current and future trends within the South African Jewish community until all data from the Jewish Community Survey of South Africa has been collected, analysed, and interpreted.

Given its importance to the Jewish community, we urge all South African Jews to complete the survey at www.jcssa2019.co.za. The fieldwork phase of the survey will close in a few weeks, so the time to participate is now.

Results from the Jewish Community Survey will be finalised by the end of 2019, and will be shared widely.

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