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Date: 2021
Abstract: As soon as the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic became evident, concern began to be expressed in the Jewish community about how its effects might damage different aspects of Jewish life. Our July 2020 survey of Jews across the UK was designed to investigate some of these effects and bring some data into policy discussion about the future of the community. In this fifth paper drawing on those survey data, we examine the impact of the pandemic on the working lives of Jewish people in the United Kingdom. It begins by studying how the experience of Jews compares to that of the wider population, and explores the issues of employment, redundancy and furlough, as well as other work disruptions such as income reduction, working from home, and caring for children. With very little data on Jewish employment available, this report provides key insights into the ways in which the community was impacted over the first five months of the pandemic, and points to how it is likely to have been affected subsequently. By providing this analysis, we hope to help UK Jewish community organisations and foundations to respond appropriately to the challenges identified. Of particular note among the findings: the Jewish employment rate had declined at a lower rate than among the general population, but the Jewish unemployment rate had increased at a higher rate. Whilst many Jews have experienced serious work impacts, and many among the high proportions of self-employed Jews have lost income without having the same access to government financial support as the employed, it seems unlikely that the Jewish population as a whole has suffered disproportionately. We found that those who were most likely to experience severe work disruptions (defined as being made redundant, being furloughed, having their pay reduced and/or having their hours reduced) were the youngest workers (aged 16-24), Jewish women (especially regarding furlough and redundancy), single parents, those with household incomes below £30,000 per year prior to the pandemic, and the most religious respondents, especially Strictly Orthodox workers, more than half of whom (52%) experienced one or more of these severe impacts. A follow-up survey planned for the coming months will determine how things have changed further since July among Jews, but it is nevertheless already clear that communal investment in employment support is needed, since all national indicators tell us that the employment situation has generally deteriorated since that time. Continued monitoring of Jewish employment rates is imperative if we are to determine and understand how the overall picture is changing and whether various endeavours being undertaken to address the challenges are effective. This will require a combination of continued investigations using data gathered within the community, as well as new investments in analysing and interpreting national data sources to shed light on long-term trends.
Date: 2021
Abstract: As soon as the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic became evident, concern began to be expressed in the Jewish community about how its effects might damage aspects of Jewish life. Our July 2020 survey of Jews across the UK was designed to investigate some of these effects and bring some data into policy discussion about the future of the community.

Part of that discussion involves community income, and specifically whether Jews will feel able to donate to charities in the ways they have previously, or if they will continue to pay membership fees to synagogues or make voluntary contributions to cover the Jewish studies programmes, security and other supplementary activities in Jewish schools.

This paper looks at these issues first by examining respondents’ giving behaviours in 2019, and comparing them to their actual or expected behaviours during the first few months of the pandemic. It finds that, as of July 2020, its effects were found to be rather limited – while charitable giving, synagogue membership fees and voluntary contributions to schools were all expected to take a hit, a strong majority indicated no change in their giving behaviour at this time. Moreover, there are some indications that a shift has taken place in people’s tendency towards giving to Jewish charities over general ones. Whether this is part of a longer-term trend or simply a response to the pandemic is unclear.

The study then investigates those who said they were planning to make a ‘negative switch’ in their giving behaviour, to explore the extent to which that change was due to economic factors caused by the pandemic, or two alternative possibilities: their economic situation prior to it, or the strength/weakness of their Jewish identity.

It finds that changes in behaviour are heavily influenced by the economic impact of the pandemic, particularly with respect to synagogue membership fees, but that Jewish identity also plays a part, most acutely in relation to making voluntary contributions to schools.

Date: 2020