A task force has released a new study on the health (or lack of health) of the Jewish organizational world on Boston's North Shore, a region that for some historic reason that I've never quite understood operates independently from the rest of Greater Boston's Jewish community. Globe reporter Steven Rosenberg takes a look at the report in a story in today's Globe North:
The report, which focuses on 23 Jewish communities from Lynn to Gloucester, lays much of the blame for the community’s fiscal and social problems on paid professionals who have steered the area’s larger Jewish institutions. In addition, the report also describes a community where Judaism and Israel are now playing a lesser role, along with religion and charity to Jewish causes.
According to the report, just 25 percent of the area’s Jews belong to a synagogue, as opposed to 40 percent of Jews throughout the United States who affiliate with temples. In addition, just 10 percent of Jews gave to the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, the area’s largest Jewish fund-raising group, in fiscal 2008 and 2009. It points to a gloomy financial state for local Jewish organizations: This year, 15 of the 17 organizations that submitted their finances for the report - eight synagogues and nine institutions - are expected to lose money.
“The financial condition of our institutions is a reflection of years of weak management and inadequate leadership, as well as communal apathy and disinterest - perhaps more serious problems than finances and certainly more elusive when it comes to a search for solutions,’’ the report states.
The Jewish Journal has posted the full text of the report here.
(Photo, by Michele McDonald for the Globe, shows an aquaerobics class at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore in Marblehead on Sept. 14, 2009.)
Harvey Cox, the Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard University, marks his retirement by asserting a little-used right of his professorship -- to graze a cow in Harvard Yard. Photo, by Barry Chin of the Globe staff, taken on Sept. 10, 2009 in Cambridge, Mass.
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