Jewish Poverty Doubles in 12 Years

(Photo by Claudio Papapietro via Jewish Daily Forward)

A popup Passover food pantry in Brooklyn. Over 360,000 people in the New York area Jewish community live in poverty. (Photo by Claudio Papapietro via Jewish Daily Forward)

UJA-Federation of New York survey has found that 20 percent of Jewish households in the New York area, or 361,100 people, live in poverty, reports the Jewish Daily Forward‘s Seth Berkman. And 32 percent, or over 560,000 people live in poor or near poor conditions.

This number – which covers residents of the five boroughs, as well as Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties – means that twice as many Jewish people live in poor households this year, compared to 12 years ago (1991). The percentage is considerably higher for children, at 45 percent.

William E. Rapfogel, chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, said during a conference call on Thursday morning that within many Jewish communities there is still a stigma attached to receiving government benefits. “It’s still a taboo subject,” he said. But there are also elderly residents who do not have the physical resources to even apply for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

Meanwhile, the study found that in terms of ethnicities, households from the former Soviet Union or from a Hasidic background are more likely to live in poverty.

One location where poverty in Jewish households is relatively low is Staten Island. UJA-Fed NY representatives said that many Russian speaking residents of Brooklyn see the outer borough as a destination once they are able to accumulate some kind of wealth.

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