Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 129-148

First online:

Jewish Nonprofit Organizations in the U.S.: A Preliminary Survey

  • Paul BursteinAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Jewish Studies Program, University of Washington Email author 

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Organizations are at the heart of American Jewish life. Though there has been considerable research on specific organizations and types of organizations, there has been very little on the overall organizational structure of the Jewish community. This article takes some preliminary steps in that direction. It pulls together historical data on American Jewish organizations and data on contemporary Jewish organizations from a source not previously used: the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s database on nonprofit charitable organizations. A majority of the 9,482 Jewish organizations listed are educational and religious but there are significant numbers of other types as well. Hundreds of organizations link American Jews to Israel and close to 300 link American Jews to Jews in other countries. New York State remains the organizational center of American Jewry. Few organizations are targeted to the needs of Jewish young adults. An agenda for future research is provided.


Jews United States Voluntary organizations Educational Religious