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One of the topics discussed at Valley Beit Midrash’s Oct. 9 opening event – which featured the organization’s new director, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, interviewing Jerry Silverman, president and chief executive officer of The Jewish Federations of North America about “The Future of American Judaism: Challenges & Opportunities in the 21st Century” – was the results of the recent Pew survey, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” which was released on Oct. 1.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, left, interviews Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, at Valley Beit Midrash's opening event on Oct. 9. Photo by Joel Zolondek

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, left, interviews Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, at Valley Beit Midrash’s opening event on Oct. 9.
Photo by Joel Zolondek

Many of the survey results have been widely reported (Click here to check it out for yourself). Silverman, who has served as JFNA’s president for the past five years, called the survey, the first Jewish population study since 2000, “an amazing gift to the Jewish community because data is knowledge.”

But how can we use this data?

“What we need to do is listen,” Silverman said.

“We need to listen to those who are opting out,” he said. “We’ve got to be great listeners.” He called the Pew survey “a gift we have to use.”

Because the release of this important data is so recent, community leaders will need some time to digest what it means for their own community. “There is no one-size-fits-all” strategy, Silverman said.

So how will the Valley’s Jewish community use this information?

Here at Jewish News, we see our role in the community as a way to facilitate conversation between all the many groups with all their varying missions. In each issue, we aim to deliver, well, Jewish news – in an interesting, accurate format.

Although the Valley’s Jewish community is so spread out, our cyber community is available to anyone with an Internet connection. In addition to the Jewish News’ Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter feeds, the conversation can continue on the Jewish News website, jewishaz.com, through its new comment feature. Keep it civil, please; comments will be moderated.

Our website’s new interactive, searchable calendar is now also available. Synagogues and organizations are encouraged to create an account and submit their own events (this is in addition to the weekly calendar in the print issue). Since space isn’t limited on the online calendar, there’s no limit on how far in advance events can be posted.

Lastly, have you visited the Jewish News’ mobile website? Now you can continue the conversation on any of your mobile devices, anywhere you are.

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