Why is this Important?
Israel is the Jewish national homeland: the history, faith, religion, culture and identity of the Jewish people have always been tied to this land. Supporting Israel is of ultimate importance locally and as such we must ensure that our community has strong connections through personal engagement.
“The Israel-Engaged in the Toronto Jewish Community” (October 2015) study identified, measured, and analyzed the role that Israel plays in the lives of those Toronto Jews who are in some way connected to Israel and to Israelis. This study developed a set of research-derived expressions of Israel engagement and identified their specific component parts: knowledge about Israel, connection to Israel, personal cultural involvement, and communal involvement. Results hone in on specific populations including: age, denominations and neighborhood.
What are the trends?
Knowledge about Israel — expressing knowledge about day to day life in Israel and contemporary Israeli culture, the place of Israel in Jewish history, the current political situation in Israel and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Emotional Connection to Israel — expressing a feeling of being at home in Israel and of not being distant from it.
Personal Cultural Behaviour Involvement — expressing engagement through self-directed and personal activities such as reading books by Israeli authors and following Israeli news media, watching Israeli movies or TV shows, talking with others about Israel, and attending Israeli cultural events and lectures.
It appears that respondents to the survey, on average, have relatively high levels of knowledge about Israel (5.1) and emotional connection to Israel (4.9). Respondents score much lower on personal, cultural, behavioral involvement (3.7). This is on an index scale of 1-7, with 7 being the highest and 1 being the lowest.
How are we doing?
Israel’s emotional appeal is significantly higher among the Orthodox Jewish community, compared to the Secular Jewish community. Orthodox and Reform Jews are each significantly more likely to be actively involved in Israeli communal engagement compared to both Conservative and Secular Jews where Israeli arts and culture, current events, and knowledge growth on a variety of other subjects are the purpose of the get-together, self-directed learning, or gathering. The same significant difference on this measure occurs within the Midtown, Thornhill, and Richmond Hill Jewish population segments compared to that of the Downtown Jewish population.