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Reform Synagogue Membership Shows Substantial Gain in New York City

June 6, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A 40 percent gain over the past two decades in Reform synagogues membership in Manhattan, “the only metropolitan center in this country that has shown gains in Jewish population and synagogue membership during the past 10 years,” was reported here last night by Rabbi Daniel L. Davis, director of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues.

Rabbi Davis, who spoke at the 20th anniversary dinner-meeting of the Federation’s assembly of delegates, noted that today there were 9,800 families in Manhattan affiliated with 17 Reform temples, as compared with 7,000 such families affiliated with 12 Reform temples in 1942.

“New York City,” he declared, “is the only place in the United States where the Jewish population in the urban area has not declined and synagogues have gained membership, even though they have been subjected to changing winds of shifting neighborhoods, of declining and redeveloping populations and of in-and-out movements of Jewish residents.” He attributed the growth to the return of parents to the city whose children are now married and to changes in the city’s East Side with the building of new apartment houses.

Referring to growth of the Jewish religious community in the suburbs, Rabbi Davis described that development as “the most dramatic occurrence of these 20 years.” He reported that there were 46 Reform temples on Long Island today as compared with eight in 1942. In the entire Metropolitan area, Rabbi Davis said, there were 96 temples today with 40,000 affiliated families, compared with 32 temples in 1942 with 14,000 families. He reported that there were 33,000 youngsters enrolled in Reform religious schools today, compared with 7,000 two decades ago.

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