Jewish Life Overview

The Contemporary Jewish Life Department engages in a variety of programs designed to improve the quality of Jewish life and to ensure Jewish continuity. Department initiatives confront numerous challenges, including assimilation, religious polarization, Jewish cultural illiteracy, and widespread indifference to Jewish communal life. This AJC division monitors trends within the Jewish community and advocates policy initiatives to address them with the goal of raising the public’s consciousness. The department addresses critical issues on the American Jewish agenda, including family dynamics, education and identity, intermarriage, and Israel-Diaspora relations.

Two initiatives play key roles in the department’s mission. The first is the William Petschek National Jewish Family Center, which promotes research on the Jewish family and sensitizes the Jewish community to these needs. Recently, the center has focused on challenges confronting the American Jewish family in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including intermarriage and conversion.

The second is the Dorothy and Julius Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations, bringing together the world’s largest Jewish communities through research, publications, conferences and exchange programs. In conjunction with AJC’s Jerusalem office, the institute conducts seminars and visits to the U.S. designed to familiarize influential Israelis with the nature of the American Jewish community. A current focus of the institute is to increase the availability of Israel studies programs at U.S. universities.

For more information on the division, please contact Steven Bayme (baymes@ajc.org).

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