The COVID-19 Community Portrait Study (CPS) focused on the Orthodox Jewish communities of Atlanta, Dallas, New Rochelle & Scarsdale, and West Hempstead. Members of Orthodox synagogues in these communities were surveyed three times during the COVID-19 pandemic. By repeatedly surveying the same individuals, the research team was able to determine causality: how local COVID-19 case rates and “staying home” changed religion, mental health and wellbeing, and finances in these communities.
Throughout the study period, CPS respondents were happy to be part of the Orthodox community. As “staying home” increased, feelings of closeness to G-d and existential meaning increased, too. The ebb and flow of local COVID-19 case rates and “saying home” did not change levels of depression and anxiety, perceived stress, overall loneliness, alcohol consumption, or binge drinking. Most members of these four relatively affluent, suburban communities were able to withstand any negative financial impact of the pandemic.
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