The 2007 Lehigh Valley Jewish Community Study

Sponsor(s): Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley (PA)

Principal Investigator(s): Ira M. Sheskin

Study Dates: October 14-24, 2007.

Population Estimates: 8,050 Jewish persons live in 4,000 Jewish households in the Lehigh Valley. An additional 1,750 non-Jewish persons reside in these Jewish households. Survey data also show that 1,280 Jewish students live in "dormitories" in local colleges (Lehigh, Lafayet
Key Findings:
  • 2% of all households in the Lehigh Valley are Jewish.
  • Lehigh Valley is the third largest Jewish community in Pennsylvania.

  • 24% of adults in Jewish households were born in the local Lehigh Valley community; 7% are foreign-born.

  • Median age is 52; 18% of all people in Jewish households are children under 18, while 23% are 65 or over (12% at least age 75).

  • 72% of children are being raised as Jews.

  • 36% of all married couples are intermarried (55% inmarried, 9% conversionary); 39% of children in intermarried households are being raised as Jews.

  • 4% of Jewish respondents identify as Orthodox, 34% Conservative, 2% Reconstructionist, 30% Reform, 31% Just Jewish.

  • 51% of Jewish households report synagogue membership; another 11% are members of either the JCC or another Jewish organization.

  • 45% of Jewish households contain a member who has visited Israel; 21% of Jewish respondents are extremely attached to Israel; 32% very attached.

  • 16% of Jewish respondents report personally experiencing anti-Semitism in the Lehigh Valley in the year proceeding the survey; 18% of households with children report a school-related anti-Semitic episode related to a child ages 6-17.

Sample: Jewish households in two Pennsylvania counties: Lehigh County (including Allentown), and Northampton County (including Bethlehem and Easton). Maps in report.

Sample Size: 537 completed Jewish household interviews - - 217 RDD (random digit dialed) and 320 from DJNs - distinctive Jewish names - from local telephone directories.

Sample Notes: Telephone survey covered only Lehigh and Northampton counties. Estimate of 2,300 Jews in Monroe County, 900 in Warren County, and 600 in Carbon County are based on a less reliable DJN analysis (without phone calls to determine Jewish status).

Since there was not a prior study in the area, the size of the Jewish community in 2000 was estimated by analyzing DJN names in CD-ROM telephone directories in 2000 and in 2007. DJN counts and estimates for 2000 are based only on calculations based on Jewish surname counts. However, results indicate a relatively stable Jewish population presence in the area.

Over 30,000 different telephone numbers were dialed in the RDD frame. Telephone exchanges included in the RDD calls were reduced after previous calls resulted in Jewish incidence too low to continue interviewing given potential costs involved.

Data are weighted to address issues of disproportionate sampling, multiple telephone line households, and some non-statistically significant differences between the RDD sample and the DJN sample.

Weight factor "wf" reduces sample size to 516 weighted, while "wfhh" extrapolates to Jewish households, N=4,000.