The Cost Of Belonging


Synagogues Rarely Mention God in Appeals, Unlike Churches

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Each year, during Kol Nidre, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles pauses in its prayers for a fundraising appeal. A few members rise to address the congregation, asking for donations while speaking about how the community has supported them through good times and bad. It’s a typical fundraising pitch for an American synagogue: Give because you’re a member of this community, and the community is there for you.Read More


On the Pulpit, Rabbis Earn More Than Christian Clergy

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church sits near the campus of the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. The small congregation, with 200 members and a budget of $130,000, is looking for a new pastor, who will be offered a salary and housing stipend worth between $50,000 and $60,000.Read More


The Cost of Belonging

American Jews love to complain about how expensive it is to be Jewish, as if there were no choice in the matter, as if there were only costs associated with Jewish life and nothing on the benefits side of the equation. But do Jews actually contribute more to their synagogues than Christians do to their churches? Not really. The surprising results of a Forward survey of religious institutions around the country found that these organizations appear to raise the same amount per member, despite the fact that church giving is voluntary and synagogue giving is not.Read More


Synagogue Dues Don't Raise More Money Than Church Gifts

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Which costs more: belonging to a synagogue, or belonging to a church?Read More





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  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
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  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
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  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
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  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
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