The Jewish Daily Forward’s College Guide

The Forward (formerly The Jewish Daily Forward) has a new college rankings geared toward…. Jews. (“The Forward’s College Guide Formula, Explained”):

We’ve surveyed and spoken with dozens of parents, students, campus professionals and alumni in order to get a comprehensive picture of what Jews take into consideration when they look for a college.

To be clear, this is a guide not to the “Jewiest” colleges, but rather to the best campuses for Jewish students. Of course, Jewish life looks very different to each Jew: Some students we spoke to cited accessibility to kosher food and synagogues as a top concern, while others spoke of their commitment to social justice and pluralism. We believe our scoring process has something for every Jew, whether you’re Orthodox and from Long Island or a Jew-ish kid from Arkansas…

As you might expect from a guide for Jewish students, the biggest category — 40 points of 100 — was assigned to Jewish life. We took into account a multitude of factors, including the availability and diversity of Jewish institutions on campus, the presence of nearby synagogues (both for praying on High Holidays away from home and for Sunday School jobs to make some extra money), active Jewish student clubs, attendance at Shabbat services, the presence of an eruv, the availability of kosher food, options for a Jewish studies degree, Jewish scholarships, Jewish Greek life, the size of the Jewish population and, of course, anti-Semitism.

The Forward finds gauging that last metric to be rather difficult:

Anti-Semitism is notoriously difficult to define, let alone quantify. To track anti-Semitism, we have chosen to rely on data compiled by the AMCHA Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that documents anti-Semitism on college campuses. While AMCHA has sometimes been criticized (including in the Forward) for its political stances, it provides by far the most thorough public documentation of campus-based anti-Semitism in all its permutations — allowing us to more comprehensively draw comparisons among all the campuses we tracked. However, for the purposes of this guide, the only things we are counting are anti-Semitic incidents that AMCHA categorizes as “Targeting Jewish Students and Staff,” which include cases of physical assault, harassment and promoting anti-Semitic imagery, like swastikas. The guide does not count harsh criticism of Israel or the promotion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as anti-Semitism for the purpose of this guide — though BDS is tracked in a different category.

Given how the ADL asserts that 25% of the world is anti-Semitic, I would think the methodology would simply assume anti-Semitism to be rampant, well, everywhere.

Oi vey!

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