Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 129–148 | Cite as

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

  • Paul BursteinEmail author


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 



This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 40th annual meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies, Washington, December 21–23, 2008. I would like to thank Emily Knaphus for her very capable assistance in data collection and coding, Shaul Kelner for his very helpful advice and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Washington for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Jewish Studies ProgramUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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