The numbers are in, and what they show could lead to better planning to sustain and grow Jewish Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Jewish Community Scorecard, an online tool that allows its users to review data reflecting how well the community is doing in meeting the needs of its individual members and institutions, is now up and running.
An initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the first data collected and processed by Scorecard was rolled out last week on jewishscorecard.com, the result of two years of preparation and research aiming to display the community’s collective performance in everything from Jewish preschool enrollment to caring for its senior citizens.
The Scorecard presents statistics garnered from surveys of communal institutions to help agencies and congregations perform better, and to help individuals make informed decisions about their own Jewish choices.
The website currently shows data collected in two categories: “Jewish engagement,” and “caring community.” Data for two additional categories — “general community,” and “capacity,” will be added later, said Raimy Rubin, Community Scorecard manager.
“The point is to show where there is need in the community, and where funds are needed,” Rubin said.
Included within the category “Jewish engagement” are four subcategories: adult Jewish learning and experience; affiliation and participation; Jewish identity and peoplehood; and Jewish learning and experience (children and teens).
Most community organizations were willing to participate in the data collection, Rubin said.
“We have surveyed institutions since last September,” he said. “Most everyone was cooperative.”
The data that appears on the Scorecard is to be used first as a “conversation starter,” Rubin said. With the help of industry experts, the community can then decide how best to utilize the information collected.
“In terms of utilization, it’s definitely premature to talk about using the data,” he said, “but there are plans for a body to be put in place to analyze it and identify courses the community can take.”
Here are some of the statistics posted last week:
• There were 3,200 Jewish adults who participated in some formal Jewish learning in 2013. Of those who participated, more than half did their learning in a Reform synagogue; 18.2 percent learned at Chabad; 12.9 percent learned at a Conservative synagogue; and 9 percent learned in an Orthodox synagogue;
• Since 2009, there has been a steady increase of local Birthright Israel participants;
• There were 9,000 Jewish adults and 1,060 Jewish children who attended Kol Nidre services last year;
• There were 85 people enrolled in conversion classes in 2013;
• Twenty congregations reporting in showed that total affiliation dropped from 5,701 members in 2011, to 5,419 in 2013;
• About 46 percent of all synagogue membership units are in Reform congregations; 34 percent are in Conservative congregations; 8 percent are in Chabad; 8 percent are in Orthodox congregations; and 2 percent are in Reconstructionist congregations; and
• Part-time Hebrew school or synagogue school enrollment has dropped 14 percent from 2012 to 2013.
The project is chaired by Meryl Ainsman, who is assisted by a “highly involved lay team,” Rubin said.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)