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(Newton, MA) — November 1, 2011 — InterfaithFamily.com has helped intermarried users with children at home engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, according to the results of its just-released 2011 user survey.
Comprising 27% of its users, intermarried people with children reported that InterfaithFamily.com had a remarkable impact on their lives. Seventy-nine percent said InterfaithFamily.com (IFF) influenced their knowledge of Jewish life, with 41% saying “some” or “a lot," a greater percentage than cited their partner, friends, extended family or Jewish education classes. Most of these users also said IFF influenced their participation in Jewish rituals and incorporation of Jewish traditions into life cycle events like weddings, bar mitzvahs and birth ceremonies.
In addition, 32% said that InterfaithFamily.com influenced them to send their children to Jewish education – an increase from 25% in 2009, while 34% said it affected their decision to join a synagogue in the last five years – an even larger increase from 24% in 2009.
“We are pleased to confirm once again that interfaith families with young children, one of our key target audiences, find our resources valuable, and that we are influencing their decisions to make Jewish choices,” said Mamie Kanfer Stewart, Board Chair of InterfaithFamily.com.
According to the survey results, the majority (55%) of visitors are intermarried. But substantial percentages are parents of children in interfaith couples (23%) and converts or in the process of converting (15%). Fewer visitors are children of interfaith couples (9%) or interdating (8%).
Most visitors (78%) are Jewish, and most are female (81%), reflecting studies that have substantiated the lead role women tend to take in a family's religious life. Most visitors (66%) are parents as well, and nearly half (45%) are between the ages of 30 and 49. The typical user visits the site once a month or more (68%) and 35% visit the site once every two weeks or more.
Jewish communal professionals, who make up 17% of the visitors, say they refer interfaith families and couples to the site more than any other resource – including Reform organizations, the Jewish Outreach Institute and local organizations. Sixty-two percent use the site as a reference for information on interfaith families; 33% have used materials from the site in their programs. Seventy-one percent say IFF has helped them see interfaith families in a more positive light; 57% say IFF has helped them develop welcoming policies and practices.
“Continuing to earn the confidence of rabbis and Jewish communal professionals as a trusted resource for their constituents is very important to us,” said Stewart.
The survey shed light on why people come to the site and on what kind of products and services they would like to see in the future. A majority of all repeat visitors (63%) said they come to read personal stories about life in an interfaith family. Thirty-five percent say they come for information on Jewish holidays, an increase from 25% in 2009, and about a third come for information on Jewish life cycle traditions. Even more first-time visitors come for information on Jewish life, with 49% looking for Jewish holiday information, for example. Thirteen percent of visitors initially come to the site for IFF’s Jewish Clergy Officiation Referral Service, for help finding a rabbi or cantor to officiate at their wedding, baby naming or other life-cycle celebration.
Sizeable percentages of users expressed interest in at least one of the functions of IFF’s social networking functionality, including customized home pages, listings of organizations and events, the ability to meet others online and more. Nearly half expressed interest in the kinds of pamphlets on interfaith family issues, such as what to do on Jewish holidays, that IFF began to offer in 2010.
Nearly a third of users expressed interest in workshops and classes about how to have religion in their lives and in classes on raising children with Judaism in their interfaith families and on adding value to their lives through Jewish practices. Those workshops and classes are a key part of the InterfaithFamily/Chicago pilot initiative that launched in July 2011.
"Our user surveys help us to prioritize and most effectively use our available resources to serve our end users," said Stewart. "We are committed to ongoing evaluation of our offerings as key to our future growth."
The survey was conducted between August and October 2011, and attracted 867 responses. The survey report can be found at: www.interfaithfamily.com/files/pdf/2011_User_Survey_Report.pdf.
InterfaithFamily.com is the premiere web based resource for interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and making Jewish choices, and the leading web based advocate for attitudes, policies and practices that welcome and embrace them. Visit www.InterfaithFamily.com.