1 in 4 in Brooklyn are Jews
Growing frum families with five or more children is much of the reason nearly one in four Brooklynites are Jews - making the borough home to the most Jews of any county in the country.
NY Daily News
Kings County - the most Kosher jurisdiction in the nation.
A new study has found that nearly one in four Brooklynites are Jews - making the borough home to the most Jews of any county in the country.
“Jewish Brooklyn is very large and very complex,” said Jacob Ukeles, co-author of the UJA-Federation of New York’s Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011. “There is no place like it.”
Of Brooklyn’s 2.4 million residents, 561,000 - or 23% - are Jewish; up from 18% in 2002
Growing Orthodox families - where having five or more children is common - in Crown Heights, Borough Park and other Jewish enclaves account for much of the increase, the study found.
A surge in secular Jewish families in Brownstone Brooklyn has added to the increase, UJA officials said.
Holocaust survivors and Russian Jews are also part of Brooklyn’s Jewish population but they have declined in the last ten years, the study found.
Meanwhile, the number of Jewish children among observant families has grown dramatically, officials said.
“We are bursting at the seams. We don’t have an inch of space,” said Rabbi Nosson Blumes of Oholei Torah boys yeshiva in Crown Heights. “Every inch of space was rebuilt to accommodate classrooms.”
Jewish education officials estimate there are now more than 90,000 students in 220 yeshivas across the borough, an increase from 65,000 students a decade ago.
The dramatic population increases have also brought both poverty and power to Orthodox Jews.
“Brooklyn is the capital of Jewish poverty in America,” said Willie Rapfogel, CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty which found that one in four Brooklyn Jews are poor. “There are significant amounts of poor Jewish children.”
Kosher soup kitchen chain Masbia feed hundreds each week in Flatbush and Borough Park.
“Hasidic Jews are so into spirituality that they can be poor and happy,” said Masbia executive dorector Alexander Rapaport. “The way of life is hard to understand for people living on the outside.”
At the same time, the population upswing has meant greater political sway. The state Senate created a “Super Jewish” district earlier this year covering Borough Park, Midwood, and Flatbush, named for its dense population of Orthodox Jews.
“When people are running for office, the needs of the Orthodox community have to be addressed,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park), who helped land state funding for street surveillance cameras in Borough Park and buses for yeshiva students earlier this year. “We really count more than ever before.”