JData Revealed Newsletter
October 2014


Day Camp: An Emerging Field
News from JData
JData Presents

October 24: Amy Sales and Nicole Samuel are at UJA-Federation of New York for the formal launch of JData's new day camp section. (Read more in this issue of JData Revealed.)


November 2-3: Amy Sales, Nicole Samuel, and Jonathan "J.C." Cohen are at JCamp 180's Annual Conference in Springfield, MA. Come to our session on Monday, "Camp Research 101: A Window into Hearts and Minds."


November 20: JData presents "Using Data to Strengthen Your Camp," a webinar for JCC Association overnight camps. Led by Amy Sales, the webinar reviews data specific to JCC camps.

Current Campaigns

2014-15 data collection has begun in many of JData's partner communities. Click here to find out your community's deadline for data entry. Annual data collection has also begun in the overnight camp world. Deadline for data entry is October 31.

JData Publications

A new report presenting an overview of the PARDES day schools in 2013-14 is available here.




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Note from the Executive Director  

I am not a research scientist. I am not a data analyst. I am not a web developer or a software engineer, nor am I an information technology specialist. (Although I do tweet, which counts for something, right?) What I am is a Jewish professional with 23 years of youth education experience. And I believe in the power of data.


That is why I jumped at the opportunity to join the JData Team as Executive Director.  What JData has to offer the Jewish world----and already provides to a growing list of national and community partners----is a statistical picture of what is happening on the ground right now. This data informs important decisions about Jewish education today----decisions that impact the trajectory of institutions and communities and, most importantly, the experience of our young people.


Since coming on board at the beginning of September, I have been studying JData's present so I can do my part to guide its future. I have spent time reading and listening, talking and thinking. I have begun reaching out to our stakeholders and hope to expand the conversation even more to include the many others out there who care deeply about Jewish education. (We have launched spaces on both Facebook and LinkedIn to allow people to dialogue with us; and, of course, anyone is welcome to contact me directly:  


I am impressed with what JData has accomplished in its short history. What started as a "big idea" has evolved into a robust, dynamic resource that is making a real difference. Just ask our stakeholders: They will tell you how they have benefited from our analyses and reports, what they have learned about Jewish education in their community or nationally across the field, and how data has influenced their planning and decision-making.


One of my goals is to increase the number of communities and organizations submitting data and using information from our system. With more data being entered each year, we and others can delve even deeper and learn even more, and in doing so contribute to the national conversation about the future of Jewish education. We want to do what we can to help the Jewish community thrive; the data we gather, and the myriad ways that it can be studied and analyzed to draw out rich learnings, is our way of contributing to that conversation.


The new year provides each of us with the opportunity for a fresh start. For me, the weeks before the High Holy Days were filled with new experiences: a new town in a new part of the country, a new house and new routine, a new climate (thankfully it hasn't snowed... yet!), and starting my new position at Brandeis University. I am excited about what 5775 has in store for JData. I hope each of you is looking with hope and excitement to the year ahead, too.


Jonathan "J.C." Cohen, MAJCS/MSW

Executive Director, JData 


Day Camp----An Emerging Field 

What is a day camp, and what makes a day camp Jewish? What can turn day camp work into a field of practice, and what data can support that effort?


Over the past year and a half, with grants from UJA-Federation of New York, JData pursued these questions. We developed a pilot for day camps and tested it with the 22 JCCs in the UJA-Federation day camp system. Based on lessons learned from this test and the input of a working group of UJA-Federation, JCC Association, and local JCC day camp professionals, we re-envisioned JData for the day camp world. We are now ready to launch JData's newest sector----Jewish day camps. 


Day camp profile forms will be available after October 27, 2014. If you would like your day camp to gain the benefit of JData, contact Allyson Cartter (; 781-736-3941). 

Location of JCCs in the New York Day Camp Pilot

To become a field of practice, Jewish day camp needs----among other structures----a standard definition, shared data, and a means to use the data to improve practice.


News from JData 

  • New support enables JData's continuing growth. JData is pleased to announce new grants that generously support the work of maintaining and growing the continental data system for Jewish education. The AVI CHAI Foundation has awarded a three-year grant aimed at increasing the number of day schools using JData. UJA-Federation of New York awarded a follow-up grant to refine and build out the day camp section of JData in 2014-15. (Read more in this issue of JData Revealed.) Over the next year, the Jim Joseph Foundation will match, dollar for dollar, grants and gifts received in support of JData

  • JData's Stakeholders will meet at the JFNA General Assembly in November. JData's Stakeholders Group is comprised of the national agencies and networks, and local Jewish federations and central agencies that partner with JData in the collection and usage of data. It also includes federations, foundations, and philanthropists whose grants and gifts support the work of JData. This year's annual meeting takes place on November 10 at Washington, D.C.'s Gaylord Conference Center.

  • JData sets new policy and practices to improve data quality. Curious data occasionally appear in JData----the camp with a 150% retention rate or the school whose total enrollment exceeds the sum of students in each grade. A new validation policy will maximize the accuracy of the data housed in JData. The policy includes steps to identify questionable data; correct or validate such data; and, where necessary, remove them from the system. The purpose of the policy is to assure that users can rely on the data (including their own) and trust the analyses and reports they retrieve from JData.

    We have also created data dictionaries for the 2014-15 day school and overnight camp profile forms. The dictionaries intend to standardize how different schools and camps interpret and respond to items in JData. Dictionaries include definitions, hint text, and examples for each item in the profile forms. We hope the dictionaries will assist users in entering and reading their data. They are works in progress, so your feedback is most welcomed at
  • Meet JData's new Communications Coordinator. The newest member of the JData team is Allyson Cartter. When you email us at or call our help line at 781-736-3941, you will likely reach Allyson. In addition to answering questions and guiding users on the JData system, Allyson manages JData communications, including JData Revealed. We are delighted to have Allyson on board.

JData is operated by Brandeis University with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation,
the AVI CHAI Foundation, and JData's stakeholders.

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