September 30, 2009

Number of Jewish Poor Families Soars on Eve of Jewish High Holy Days

New York…The recession was taking its toll on New York’s Jewish community on the eve of the Jewish New Year, according to information released by the Met Council on Jewish Poverty. In 2008, the agency served 21,614 families but this year the number rose to 24,801, an increase of 13%. Last year 51,523 apples were distributed; this year 119,704, a jump of 132%. The total amount of food distributed to the Jewish poor rose by 9.2% over last year to 356,226 pounds. The sharply increased demand has taxed the resources of Met Council, according to its executive director William Rapfogel. Other agencies in the New York area as well as around the country also reported increases in demand ranging from 10% - 30%. Sources say that many of the recipients were “newly poor” which means that they are recent victims of layoffs and the recession. Met Council says that while food has been the major focus of the ongoing crisis, for many younger families, its crisis intervention teams have also dealt with housing, education and health care issues.