Research is the cornerstone of all aspects of Be’chol Lashon. Personal interviews, surveys, focus groups, and ongoing evaluations of programming reveal the evolving needs of Jews around the world.

In 1999, the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR) conducted a  “Study of Ethnic and Racial Diversity of the Jewish Population of the United States” (Tobin, Tobin, & Rubin, 2005). The research revealed that diverse Jews often feel isolated from Jewish life despite a deep commitment to their Jewish identity. The focus group members overwhelmingly wanted to get together again, some never having met another Jew with a similar racial heritage. Be’chol Lashon was born at a seminal Hanukkah celebration in 2000 at the Women’s building.

Further research conducted by Be’chol Lashon in 2004 discovered that Jews are more diverse than many assume—20% of America’s six million Jews or 120,000 people are African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian, Sephardic (Spanish and Portuguese descent), Mizrahi (North African and Middle Eastern descent), and mixed race.

Be’chol Lashon is the only professional organization with an ideological, organizational, and programmatic framework for meeting the needs of a growing ethnically and racially diverse Jewish population.

Our research revealed that Jews are more diverse than many assume—20% of America’s approximately 6 million Jews or 1,200,000 are Black, Asian, Latino, Sephardic, Mizrahi and mixed-race—by heritage, conversion, intermarriage and adoption.

Be’chol Lashon has sponsored San Francisco Bay Area events for Black, Asian, Latino, and mixed-race Jews as well as their families and friends since 2000. 

Counting Jews requires decisions about who is being counted, a direct function of whom we define as a Jew: biology, self-identity, or behavior.

Both locating Jews and convincing them to reveal their religious identity complicates and compromises our ability to estimate the number of Jews. 

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