Poor Jews: An American Awakening

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The popular image of the Jewish community is that it consists primarily of members of the middle and upper middle classes. But this image is far from true. Poor Jews: An American Awakening shatters, once and for all, the stereotype of Jewish affluence. Citing national data and descriptions of the life-styles of the Jewish poor, the authors reveal unique social characteristics of the Jewish poor-including the surprising statistic that over two-thirds of the members of this group are past the age of sixty, thus experiencing the compounded disadvantage of being poor, elderly, and deserted by the young, mobile Jewish community. Reasons for the invisibility of Jewish poverty are examined, as well as how the Jewish community has responded to poverty within its own ethnic group and Jewish attitudes toward the welfare state and charity. The lack of Jewish participation in antipoverty programs is cited, along with measures which will bring them fully into this and other federal and state programs.