Jewish Communities Use Cash Incentives to Entice Members

from The New York Times:

To Revive Communities in U.S., Jewish Groups Try Relocation Bonuses

Many synagogues and other Jewish groups have dangled lucrative incentives in recent years to attract new members to their graying or shrinking communities around the nation. Advertised in Jewish publications or through word of mouth, relocation bonuses have included partial down payments on homes, discounted yeshiva tuition, repayment of student loans and even free memberships to the Jewish dating Web site JDate.

While Israel has long showered tax breaks and perks on those returning to the homeland, Jews no longer have to go anywhere near the Dead Sea to reap financial rewards. In Dothan, Ala., a $1 million “family relocation project,” offering packages of up to $50,000, has drawn more than 500 applicants. In Meridian, Miss., a Reform synagogue has $25,000 grants for families who stay at least five years.

Such incentives have even spread to traditional Jewish strongholds on Long Island long viewed as desirable in their own right.