July 31, 2009
InterfaithFamily.com has helped intermarried users with children engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, according to the results of its recent user survey.
Comprising 27% of its users, intermarried people with children reported that InterfaithFamily.com had a remarkable impact on their lives. Eighty-three percent said InterfaithFamily.com influenced their knowledge of Jewish life, with 43% 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 InterfaithFamily.com influenced their participation in Jewish rituals and incorporation of Jewish traditions into life cycle events like weddings, bar mitzvahs and birth ceremonies.
In addition, nearly two-fifths said InterfaithFamily.com influenced them to participate in an outreach program, while 25% said the site influenced them to send their children to Jewish education, and 24% said it affected their decision to join a synagogue in the last two years.
"It is wonderful to confirm 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, chairwoman of the board of InterfaithFamily.com.
The survey also revealed that InterfaithFamily.com has had a high level of impact among the least Jewishly affiliated users, such as non-Jews and non-synagogue members.
According to the survey results, the majority (59%) of visitors are intermarried. But substantial minorities are parents of children in interfaith couples (19%) and converts or in the process of converting (17%). Fewer visitors are interdating (6%) or children of interfaith couples (7%).
Most visitors (79%) are Jewish, and most are female (75%), reflecting studies that have substantiated the lead role women tend to take in a family's religious life. Most visitors (65%) are parents as well, and almost half are between the ages of 30 and 49. The typical user visits the site once a month or more (62%) and 31% visit the site once every two weeks or more.
Jewish communal professionals, who make up 19% of the site's users, say they refer interfaith families and couples to the site more than any other resource--including Reform organizations, the Jewish Outreach Institute and local outreach programs. Seventy percent use the site as a reference for information on interfaith families; 41% have used materials from the site in their programs.
"We are pleased with the increasing level of recognition of InterfaithFamily.com by Jewish communal professionals," said Stewart. "Continuing to earn the confidence of rabbis and other professionals as a trusted resource for their constituents is very important to us."
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. About a quarter say they come for information on Jewish holidays and life cycle traditions. The picture is a bit different among first-time visitors: 36% say they came for help finding a rabbi or cantor to officiate at an interfaith wedding, and only 22% said they came to read personal stories from interfaith families.
Seventy-one percent of users expressed interest in at least one of the functions of the site's new social networking functionality, including customized home pages, improved listings of organizations and events, the ability to meet others online and more. Nearly half expressed interest in pamphlets on interfaith family issues, such as what to do on Jewish holidays.
"The user survey will help us to prioritize and most effectively use our available resources to serve our end users," said Stewart. "Ongoing evaluation of our offerings is key to our future growth."
The survey was conducted in May 2009, and attracted 1,109 responses.