Survey says: Finances Seen as Biggest Problem in Modern Orthodox Community

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According to a just released, first-of-its-kind, survey of the American Modern Orthodox community, it should come as no surprise that finances are seen as the biggest problem facing the community today. By a wide margin, the cost of Jewish schooling ranks as the #1 problem. Also among the top 10 are the cost of maintaining a Jewish home and the Shidduch process.

Additionally, 53% of respondents believe that women in their Orthodox community should have the opportunity for expanded roles in the clergy. The percentage agreeing fully is higher among women (43%) than men (31%), and much higher among women age 18-34 (52%).

Other findings include:

  • There are strong levels of belief, observance and a very powerful sense of community … and overall religious observance is becoming stronger.
  • Levels of Shabbat observance are very high, and respondents greatly value Shabbat for the family connectedness it fosters and for providing a needed break from day-to-day activities.
  • Shuls are vibrant and well-attended centers of prayer, learning and community.
  • There is a strong focus on Jewish education, both for children – including very high Jewish day school enrollment, a key driver of Jewish continuity – and for adults.
  • There is much interest in and study of Jewish topics, and desires to explore an array of topics relating to Torah study as well as Judaism in the modern world.
  • There is great value seen in education (61% achieve post-graduate or professional degrees, with commensurately high family incomes) and in participating in society.
  • There is much satisfaction and joy in seeing the transmission of Jewish values and practices to children and grandchildren.
  • There are strong emotional and activist connections in support of Israel.
  • There has been growth in opportunities for women leadership in communal roles, as well as Torah teaching, study and scholarship.

The Nishma Research Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews summary report is available on eJP for download.