Profiling the Jewish Studies Profession in North America: The 2014 Survey of AJS [Association for Jewish Studies] Members

Sponsor(s): American Academy of Jewish Research, Association for Jewish Studies (AJS)

Principal Investigator(s): Steven Martin Cohen

Study Dates: September 5, 2014 to September 22, 2014

Key Findings:

Steven M. Cohen conducted the 2014 survey of AJS [Association for Jewish Studies] members via an online, Internet questionnaire basis during September, 2014.  Survey results were published in July, 2015.  Data file has been added to the DataBank archive as of December, 2015.

The Highlights report summarizes the major findings of the report, which focuses on the 1,353 North American (US and Canadian) respondents only. The report  provides approximately 40 pages of charts/figures and text analysis in an exceptionally accessible format.

A selection of findings from the survey:

• Of all AJS survey respondents (N=1,790), 71% were from the USA, 12% Israel, 5% Canada, 9% Other (including Europe), and 3% "no answer."

• The Detailed Results section provides comparisons of the North American and other countries responses.

Among North American survey respondents:

• 48% are women;

• The median age is about 49, with just over a quarter in their 20s and 30s, and as many in their 40s (the ten-year range with the largest number of respondents). At the same time, over a fifth are age 65+.

• Over 85% of the respondents are Jewish by religion, with the rest about evenly divided between those with no religion and a diversity of other religions.

• A follow-up question was asked about whether no-religion respondents identified as Jews; their answers did little to change the distribution.

• See pages 37-38 of the detailed results comparisons for answers to the questions on religious affiliation, and the followup question for those with "no" religion: "Aside from religion, do you consider yourself Jewish?"

• Page 38 of the detailed results also provides data on denominational identification, which is not included in the Highlights report.

• In the North American sample, 29% of survey respondents self-define as Conservative, 15% Orthodox, 16% Reform, 5% Reconstructionist, 1% Jewish Renewal and 23% "Just Jewish."

• Respondents from other areas are: Orthodox 34%, Conservative 10%, Reform 9%, just over 1% Reconstructionist or Renewal, and 35% "Just Jewish."

• 71% of the respondents are working (or retired) academics, 11% are students (primarily doctoral students), another 6% researchers, and the rest work in a variety of other occupations. 80% work full-time, 7% part-time, and 8% are retired.

• A third of the academic respondents are full professors, almost as many are associate professors, a small number are assistant professors, and the remaining quarter have other academic titles.

• The non-academics (that is, those who define themselves as researchers, non-profit professionals and other ways) are heavily situated in academic settings (38%), with others in Jewish non-profits (18%), another 18% in museums, libraries and archives, and a quarter in other employment venues.

DataBank users are encouraged to review the Highlight report, as well as the detailed results comparisons of North American and other countries Jewish studies professionals.

In addition to the topics summarized above, the Highlights report includes detailed analysis on the characteristics of academic institutions where Jewish studies professionals are employed, instruction-related variables, academic productivity and visibility, compensation, career plans and graduate students.

In addition, the AJS 2014 Presidential Address by Jonathan Sarna provides an excellent summary and commentary on the AJS survey findings, and the implications for the field of Jewish studies (see link on left or click here for AJS website presidential remarks)


Internet survey with a total of 1,790 usable responses (1,353 from the US and Canada, 447 from other countries] from a total of 3,026 potential respondents  - just under a 60% completion rate.

3,026 potential survey respondents included 2,863 AJS members and former members, and  an additional 163 members and former members of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.


Data file for the 2014 Survey of AJS Members is available for downloading on the right side of this Overview page.  Data file has 1,790 respondents -  includes all respondents from all countries -  while the Highlights Report focused on 1,353 responses from the US and Canada.  

• Variable "NoAmerica" (v171) identifies these respondents; variable "country" (v170) allows for separation of respondents from the US and Canada, Israel, and "other" countries.  The Detailed Results comparisons file provides comparisons of the North American data with other AJS 2014 member respondents.

The zipped data file includes an SPSS SAV file, the Syntax used by Professor Cohen to create variables at the end of the data file, and a PORTABLE SPSS file for DataBank users who use other software systems other than SPSS.

Sample Notes:

Data reported in Highlights report focuses on 1,353 responses from the United States and Canada to the 2014 AJS survey of the Jewish Studies profession.  The "Detailed Results Comparisons" [available for downloading on the right side of this overview page as an Appendix in the "complete report" and as a separate file also] provides comparative data on the 1,353 North American respondents and the 447 respondents from other countries.

Data file discussion in section on "Sample" above.


Study Notes:

DataBank users should note that the Complete report includes the Highlights, the Questionnaire and the Detailed Results Comparisons -  all of which are also available separately on the right side of this overview page. 

The Highlights report does not include the Questionnaire and the Detailed Results Comparisons, although the Table of Contents for the Highlights report still includes page references for the questions and the results that are available in the Complete Report and separately also.

If DataBank users download both the Complete report and the separate sections, they should be careful not to print two copies of the 2014 AJS Survey results - Highlights, Questionnaire and Detailed Data Comparisons. 

Language: English