Report: Bulk of Jewish donations come from synagogue members

NEW YORK (JTA) – The overwhelming majority of money donated  to Jewish organizations by American Jewish households comes from those affiliated with synagogues, even though they constitute a minority of the adult Jewish population, a new report shows.

The just-released fourth installment of “Connected to Give,” a series of reports based on findings from the 2013 National Study of American Jewish Giving commissioned by a consortium of Jewish philanthropic stakeholders and Jumpstart, focuses on giving patterns among Jews who affiliate with congregations, as well as those who identify with specific Jewish denominations.

Of the household funds donated in 2012 to Jewish organizations, 79 percent came from synagogue members — who make up 38 percent of the adult Jewish population — with the average synagogue member donating six times as much as the average non-member.

While noting that synagogue members are also more affluent on average than non-members, the report says connectedness to Jews and Jewish life is a greater factor than wealth in explaining the difference in philanthropic behavior.

The report also finds that most charitable dollars given by American Jewish households go to organizations with Jewish ties and that Orthodox Jews give more on average to Jewish organizations than do Conservative Jews, while Conservative Jews give more than Reform Jews.

While Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews who are synagogue members differ little in their giving to non-Jewish organizations, Conservative Jews give almost twice as much as Reform to Jewish organizations.

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