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July 24, 1992 - Image 86

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-07-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1992

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Poll Finds That Jews
Want To Be Involved

New York (JTA) —
Substantial numbers of
American Jews affiliate
with communal organiza-
tions, both Jewish and non-
sectarian, but their level of
commitment is not very
deep, a new report by the
American Jewish Com-
mittee reveals.
While 70 percent of the
survey's 1,114 respondents
are affiliated with the Jew-
ish community in some way,
the majority do no volunteer
work, attend no meetings
and contribute little finan-
cially.
"This, then, is the reality
of affiliation with which
Jewish organizations and
Jewish leadership must
grapple," wrote Drs. Renae
Cohen and Sherry Rosen in
the study, titled
"Organizational Affilation
of American Jews: A Resear-
ch Report."
That reality is "a potential
membership pool that
`believes in' Jewish organ-
izations, gives to them of
their time and money at
relatively modest levels and
prefers the organizations to
adhere to an unchanged
agenda that emphasizes
fighting anti- Semitism,
supporting Israel and
preserving Jewish identity,"
the authors wrote.
"There do not appear to be
large numbers of Jews here
who are willing to par-
ticipate with greater expen-
ditures of time and money or
who care enough to re-
evaluate current organiza-
tional structures and agen-
das," they conclude.
But what deserves em-
phasis, Rosen said, is the
fact that 31 percent of re-
spondents said they have
less involvement in Jewish
organizations than they
want, as compared to 19 per-
cent who want more in-
volvement in non-Jewish
organizations.
And respondents have a
very positive image of people
involved with Jewish organ-
izations; a majority think of
them as well educated, Jew-
ishly knowledgeable, active
in the community and inter-
ested in community or world
affairs.
The policy implications of
these findings are far-
reaching, said Rosen, a
research associate in the
AJCommittee's Department
of Communal Affairs. There
clearly is a sizable Jewish
population ready to be asked
to do more, a widespread
willingness on which Jewish

organizations should capi-
talize, she explained.
Some of the findings that
could shape the way Jewish
organizations market them- L),
selves include:
• More than twice as h
many respondents said they
belong to non-sectarian j
organizations to network for-, )
professional reasons as said
they belong to Jewish groups c.
for that reason (33 percent
vs. 15 percent).
• Many more said they
belong to Jewish groups be-
cause of family and friend-,_
ship ties to the organization
(43 percent), and because of
an emotional attachment to it
the group (34 percent) than
cited those as reasons for
belonging to non-Jewish
groups (21 and 19 percent,
respectively).
• Two-thirds of re-
spondents believe that af-
filiation with Jewish groups
and with non-sectarian
organizations is of equal im-

46 percent said
they were involved
with one Jewish
organization other
than a synagogue
in 1990.

portance and that affiliation
with a Jewish organization
is as important as belonging
to a synagogue. Most of
those surveyed expressed
satisfaction with their level
of involvement.
• A plurality — 46 percent I
— said they were involved
with one Jewish organiza-
tion other than a synagogue
in 1990, 25 percent said ther_
were involved with two, and
28 percent with three organ- ci
izations or more.
• But two-thirds of the
survey's respondents said
that other than dues and
membership fees, they do-),
nated less than $200 to all
Jewish organizations.
Roughly the same percen-
tage of respondents donated
less than $200 to non-
sectarian groups.
• By a margin of 56 per-
cent to 47 percent, more re
spondents said they gave
money to Jewish organiza-
tions than to non- sectarian
groups, but more were likely
to do volunteer work for non-
sectarian groups than for
Jewish ones (41 percent vs.c'
32 percent).
• And they were slightly

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