The Emerging Field of Jewish Day Camp
June 2016
JData Revealed
Amy L. Sales
One thing we know for sure: Jewish education in North America is far from static. In 2015-16, the day school sector saw the budding of NewOrg. Foundation for Jewish Camp announced expansion into day camps, an emerging field of practice. New initiatives, new funders, and new ways of thinking about part-time education, informal and experiential education, and leadership development for the field were all in evidence in 2015-16. JData continued to count the number of organizations in growth mode and the number that merged or closed. The latter number is relatively small but persistent and pervasive.
JData, too, had a dynamic year. We enjoyed high levels of productivity but also faced insufficient resources for continuing to develop through our current technology. Our achievements owe much to our funders, partners, and users. Our transition rests on the strong foundation we have built. 
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Amy L. Sales, Ph.D.
JData Director

It is fascinating to watch a field of practice emerge---to witness its budding sense of consciousness as a unified endeavor, the rising interest of agencies and funders, and the attendant press for program, operations, and staff development. This is the state of Jewish day camp today.

Data play a role in this emergence. They portray the size and shape of the landscape and show individual camps where they stand in the larger picture. They provide metrics critical for a field of practice. These include performance measures, benchmarking data, and tools for assessing progress over time. JData is pleased to have created the foundation for a data system for Jewish day camps.

Given the extensiveness of the JData database, we ask: Are day camps like overnight camps or not? Or are they perhaps like overnight camps were 15 years ago? Make your own guess, and then read on.

JData is changing. After August 31, 2016, organizations will no longer be able to access the JData database. We therefore want to be certain that current users are in possession of their organization's data housed at

Although all data will be held on secure servers at Brandeis University in perpetua, we recommend that organizations download their reports now for safe keeping and future reference. For information on how to download reports, click here.

JData's mode of operation is changing but its vision for a shared database for the field of Jewish education remains strong. We will continue to gather, analyze and report on data. The JData website will continue to house our reports and newsletters, which you can access at any time. We trust that organizations will continue to use this information to inform and inspire efforts to build strong institutions for Jewish education.

A common question in the Jewish day school world concerns executive compensation. This information is needed by many people, including boards that are hiring new executives, heads of school who are negotiating their contracts, and financial managers studying their school's personnel costs. All totaled, 134 schools provided information for this report in 2015-16, a 41% increase over the previous year's participation rate.

Click here to access the full report.
JData is operated by Brandeis University with generous support from The AVI CHAI Foundation and JData's stakeholders. The Jim Joseph Foundation was JData's initial funder and lead partner from 2007-2015.
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