Child Poverty and Deprivation among Jews

The common identification of Jews with wealth is partly disproved by a new publication from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. Written by Jonathan Boyd, Child Poverty and Deprivation in the British Jewish Community is available to download at:

The report derives from three main sources: a literature review; secondary analysis of existing quantitative data, especially from the 2001 census; and 40 qualitative interviews in 2009-10 with a range of professionals working within Jewish social care organizations, educational institutions, synagogues and other community charities.

The key finding is that, although cases of poverty and deprivation can be found in various parts of the Jewish population, it is among the strictly Orthodox Charedi community, which has grown ‘at an extraordinary rate over the past two decades’, that the issue of child poverty is most acute.

A ‘potentially toxic mix’ has been created by the combination of their large families, relative lack of focus on the secular education and qualifications of Charedi boys, cuts in public benefits, a likely diminution of donations to Jewish charities, and the high cost of maintaining a religious lifestyle. A negative impact on synagogue membership and participation in Jewish youth programmes is predicted.

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