A new survey of executive compensation at non-profits shows that top professionals at federations and other Jewish groups are among the best-paid communal, human-services and international relief fund-raising organization leaders in the country.
Fort Dix, N.J.: Juda Mintz may look like an ordinary guy (middle aged, medium height, with a comb-over and thick glasses) yet there is something about the Modern Orthodox rabbi that makes him stand out among the 4,500 inmates at the Fort Dix Correctional Institution, a federal prison in southwestern New Jersey.
Under the glaring fluorescent lights of the large cinder-block walled prison visiting room, Rabbi Mintz walks calmly over to greet a visitor. He is dressed in the same beige work-shirt and pants that every inmate wears from the day he arrives until the day he is freed.
Fort Dix, N.J.: The residents who traverse the blue cinderblock wall hallways, decorated only by stenciled warnings not to loiter and to "keep your hands out of pockets," are focused on two things: getting through each day and the date they will be released.
But on a recent Monday afternoon, two dozen men in dun-colored uniforms are bent over worksheets on their desks in a pair of windowless rooms at the Midstate Correctional Facility here focusing on something larger than themselves: the heroes in their lives.
The long-awaited National Jewish Population Study 2000-01 is flawed to the degree that many of its key findings should not be considered reliable, and ought to be reworked and re-analyzed before being used by communal policy planners.
That is the upshot of a new report from an independent expert brought in to evaluate the landmark survey.
After years of anticipation and a $6 million price tag, the results of the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01 were unveiled this week, revealing a community little changed from the way it looked a decade ago.
The new study finds a slightly smaller American Jewish population, with 5.2 million Jews compared to 5.5 million in 1990; increased interest in Jewish education, with more students attending Jewish day schools and college Jewish studies courses than in the past; and a slight rise in the intermarriage rate.
Most Jewish worship and practice is the same for gay and lesbian Jews as it is for any other. But there are places where the needs of gays and lesbians are not addressed by the tradition, and so rituals and liturgies are invented.
Sarah and Michelle aren't getting married this summer; they're having a commitment ceremony. They are specifically not calling it a wedding and there will be no ketubah, marriage contract.
Instead, they will participate in a Talmudic ritual that establishes business partnerships and outline their mutual responsibilities and commitment in a shtar, a Jewish legal document.
The non-religious Jew, the secular, the humanist, the cultural Jew: in a city rich with synagogues and tradition-oriented classes, where are they to turn?
There will soon be a new haven for such folks, whose ranks, according to recent studies, are swelling.
Those in the region who describe themselves as "just Jewish" or "secular" or "having no religion" have nearly doubled in the last decade, from 13 to 25 percent, according to the recent New York population study.
Experts say the responses to surveys often depend on how the questions are asked, so the language used obviously becomes critical. How certain words are understood depends on their cultural context, and that changes over time: the way a word is understood in one decade may have changed by the next survey.
Take the new New York Jewish population study. Asked their religious identification, the overwhelming majority of respondents said either Reform, Conservative or Orthodox, and everyone pretty much knows what those labels mean.
A population shift of dramatic proportions is changing the face of New York's Jewish community as Russians and the Orthodox (many of them poor) now comprise nearly four in 10 Jews in New York City, according to the 2002 New York Jewish Community Study.
While the overall Jewish population in the city, Long Island and Westchester has remained stable in the last decade at 1.4 million, the makeup of the 643,000 households in which they live is radically different than in 1991, suggesting major changes in the city's political landscape and the Jewish community's funding priorities.