JDC 2021 European Jewish leaders survey: Antisemitism and Jewish community sustainability top concerns & priorities

The Fifth Survey of European Jewish Community Leaders and Professionals, was conducted by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s International Center for Community Development (JDC-ICCD) between April and May 2021, offering insights from more than 1,000 European Jewish leaders and professionals.

The survey covers a wide variety of topics including the toll of COVID-19 on European Jewish communities and a widening generational gap around pivotol issues. Conducted every three years since 2008, the study is part of JDC’s wider work in Europe, which includes its partnerships with local Jewish communities and programs aiding needy Jews, fostering Jewish life and leaders, camping, resilience training, research, and community planning.

Key Findings

Antisemitism, Safety, and Emigration
  • Antisemitism: For the first time since the survey’s inception, antisemitism rose to the first position in the ranking of the most serious threats to the future of Jewish life. 71 percent of respondents gave antisemistism a score of “4 or 5” on a 1-to-5 scale. “Combating antisemitism” was chosen as the main community priority for future years. Respondents were pessimistic when they are asked to consider the prospect of Anti-Jewishhatred over the next five to ten years, with 68 percent expecting antisemitism to “increase significantly”(28 percent) or “somewhat”(40 percent).
  • Safety: The perception that antisemitism is a growing concern, and a major threat, is not necessarily coupled with the idea that Europe is no longer a safe place for Jews. Most respondents answered the question “to what extent do you feel it is safe to live and practice as a Jew in your community today?” by stating that they do feel secure, with 78 percent reportingfeeling safe(17 percent “very safe” and 61 percent “rather safe”). Only 17 percent felt “rather unsafe,” and 6 percent “not safe at all.”
  • Emigration: Similarly, a majority of respondents (67 percent) are not planning to emigrate, and 71 percent of respondents were satisfied with their government’s response to Jewish community security needs.
  • Antisemitism aside, the major threats to the future of Jewish life that were identified were alienation of Jews from Jewish community life (70 percent); lack of renewal of Jewish organizations (69 percent) and lack of engagement by members in community affairs or activities (68 percent).