Monday, July 22, 2013

Okay, I want this job..

Here's what came by my inbox today:

Job Posting
Institution: University of Chicago
Department: Divinity School
Title: Open Rank Professor of Social Scientific Study of Religion
Position/Rank: Academic Positions: All
Areas/Special Programs: Religion

Not that they would hire me anyway--that minor detail about lack of publications would seriously get in the way.  But still.  It's soc of religion.  At University of Chicago.  It's the first time I've really been sorry I'm chained (in the best possible way, but still) to the Bay Area.  Ah well.  I have to keep believing that something will turn up...

Spent the day working on my talk for Sunday.  It's taking shape nicely, but it's not done and I sure wish it were.  Spent some time looking at differences between the Bay Area and the rest of the US.  A couple of points of interest.  Somewhat more than 40% of both Conservative and Reform Jews are on the West Coast (that's people NOT congregations).  That's remarkable.  And what's even more remarkable is that the paper in which those figures are discussed didn't mention that.  Here are the figures:
West and Mountain: R 43, C 40
South: R 9, C 10
Midwest: R 21, C 12
New England: R 8, C 9
NE & Atlantic Seaboard: R 8, C 14
NY Area: R 11, C 15
The text describing these figures reads as follows:
"Conservative congregants are relatively concentrated in New York and the Northeast, with
twice as many of them in those parts of the country than Reform Jews. Conversely, the Midwest
houses almost twice as high a proportion of Reform Jews as of Conservative Jews.
"These geographic differences reflect, in part, historical developments dating back a century
or more. The Conservative movement grew substantially in the mid-twentieth century as the
children of immigrants, largely located in the Northeast, built Conservative congregations. The
Reform movement in the US traces its origins to small town Jewry in several Midwestern states.
Notably, the Conservative movement’s JTS is located in New York and the Reform movement’s
HUC-JIR “mother campus” is found in Cincinnati."

What this says to me is that the center of liberal Judaism is now in West.  Has anyone noticed?  Kind of looks like not.  Or have I missed something?  Here's something else.  In the country as a whole, Orthodox synagogues are 42% of the total and 21% of Jews who affiliate are Orthodox (and that's the overwhelming number of Orthodox--over 95%).  Reform has 26% of the synagogues and 38% of the Jews who affiliate. In the Bay Area, those numbers are very, very different.  I haven't done the membership count, but should before Sunday, but in terms of denominational breakdown: Reform is 37% of the congregations; Orthodox is about 14%.  And they are small shuls (here and elsewhere).  No Orthodox shul in the Bay Area has more than 250 member units (although those families can be pretty big. On the other hand, some of these shuls are really tiny).  Reform, on the other hand, runs the gamut from 75 families to 2500 families (and 5-6 are upwards of 750).  So no, the Bay Area is not at all typical.  Really, really not.  And I haven't even mentioned differences in intermarriage rates.
Yeah, so that's how I spent my day.
In other news--went off and did my run this morning--I thought it was 3.7 miles; turns out it's 3.0 (4.9 km).  Wiped me out from heat and humidity.  I can go the entire way at a jog though.  Which is pretty amazing to me--don't know the last time I could do that (college?). of my carefully mailed packages has go astray.  Sigh. Edit: no looks like it arrived. That's a relief.  I had no desire to sit on hold with Israeli customer service.  Which I'm pretty sure is an oxymoron.
That's it for now...


cielledee said...

What a job!

The number analysis is really interesting. How will you get a handle on commitment and practice?

WanderingJew said...

I'm not sure what your question refers to. In the talk for which I use the number analysis, I'm not really looking at commitment and practice, but what congregations say they do regarding pluralistic Judaism. I'm using the language found on websites and then how they enact that with membership and in services.
If you mean the previous post about a longitudinal study, that's harder. There are some standard measures of practice and connection, some of which I've used in my previous interviews. But the question I'd want to address in the longitudinal study is change over time--and, in particular, change mediated by the congregation. So I'd want to begin with some idea of what congregations think they're teaching/modeling/doing with congregants. And probably need a non-affiliated group.
The real problem with the latter, of course, is that the study itself is likely to lead to change in their behavior, simply because it will raise their awareness of the issue...Anyway, that's in the future. For now, just need to write...

cielledee said...

I was, indeed, thinking of the longitudinal study.