For Immediate Release
December 20, 2023
Poll also shows widespread antisemitism and dissatisfaction with how discrimination against Jews is addressed in local government, schools and universities.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Bay Area released new polling on the Jewish community in the Bay Area that shows that the region has become increasingly hostile toward Jews following the October 7 attack by Hamas and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war. An overwhelming 61 percent of Bay Area Jewish residents surveyed – more than 3 in 5 – feel less safe in their day-to-day lives since October 7, with 22 percent saying they feel “much less safe.” Another key finding is that 36 percent of respondents have personally experienced or witnessed antisemitism since October 7. A year ago, 32 percent said they had experienced or personally witnessed antisemitism in the past three years, highlighting a stark increase in antisemitism over the past two months. Moreover, there is widespread dissatisfaction with how local institutions — including governments, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities — are addressing antisemitism.
“Antisemitism has long been a scourge on society, but the hatred and violence we have witnessed in our communities over the past several weeks has been unprecedented in my lifetime,” said Tyler Gregory, CEO of JCRC Bay Area. “These numbers speak for themselves — we need local leaders to internalize the fear many Bay Area Jews live with daily and propose comprehensive solutions to helping us feel safer, including trainings and education on Jewish identity and antisemitism. It must be incumbent upon non-Jews and the broader civic community to ensure antisemitism does not spiral further out of control.”
“The polling shows an acceleration of trends we already knew to be true: Jewish families are becoming less comfortable with how critical Bay Area institutions are caring for and including us as Jews,” said Joy Sisisky, CEO of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. “Ensuring our communal security across the Bay Area is a cornerstone of our work at the Federation, and we plan to incorporate this data in our ongoing conversations with law enforcement and public safety officials to underscore today’s environment facing Bay Area Jews.”
EMC Research conducted the survey of 859 Bay Area residents who identify as Jewish from November 21 – December 6, 2023 (with a pause November 23-25 for Thanksgiving). The overall margin of error is +3.34 percentage points.
Additional key takeaways from this data include:
- Top-of-mind concerns about antisemitism, discrimination and safety have increased significantly compared with last year.
- More than half — 51 percent — of Bay Areas Jews surveyed mentioned antisemitism, discrimination or safety is the most important problem facing Jews today, compared with 37 percent from last year.
There is a strong hesitancy to express Jewish identity in non-Jewish locations or where other Jews are not present
- A majority of respondents felt only somewhat comfortable (38%) or uncomfortable (22%) expressing their Jewish identity when there are no other Jews present.
- Only 25 percent of Bay Area Jews surveyed feel extremely comfortable expressing Jewish identity at schools, colleges or other educational settings.
- Only 20 percent of Bay Area Jews surveyed feel extremely comfortable expressing Jewish identity in public places.
- Comfort expressing Jewish Identity in a variety of non-Jewish spaces has fallen since last year’s survey.
- There is a huge mismatch between what Jews are experiencing and how elected leaders and institutions are responding.
- Only 10 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with how their local government is addressing antisemitism.
- Only 7 percent of Bay Area Jews surveyed are very satisfied with how local K-12 schools are handling antisemitism, and 56 percent are dissatisfied.
- Only 5 percent of Bay Area Jews surveyed are very satisfied with how colleges and universities are handling antisemitism, and 74 percent are dissatisfied.
- Anti-Zionist Jews are a small minority of Bay Area Jews.
- 89 percent of Bay Area Jews surveyed believe Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state — a modern expression of Zionism. Only 10 percent disagree.
About JCRC Bay Area:
JCRC Bay Area is the largest collective voice of Bay Area Jews, working in pursuit of a more just world where Jewish identity is embraced and all people thrive. By building bridges and working in coalition with diverse ethnic, faith, political, and civic communities, we foster partnerships, provide meaningful educational and engagement opportunities, and build consensus for actionable solutions to real-world challenges. For more information, please visit www.jcrc.org.