gearTikkun Olam – Repairing the World

In the Pittsburgh Jewish community, 39% of Jewish adults say they did some volunteer activity in the past month (Table 6.5a). Nearly one-fifth (18%) of the overall population volunteered with at least one Jewish organization, and 28% volunteered with a non-Jewish organization. These include 8% who volunteered for both (not shown in table). Fifteen percent of Jewish adults volunteered in a leadership position in a Jewish organization. Those in the Immersed and Connected groups were most likely to volunteer under Jewish auspices, while about one-third of Immersed, Connected, and Involved volunteered for non-Jewish groups.

Table 6.5a Volunteering

(% of Jewish adults)
 Any volunteeringNon-Jewish organizationAny Jewish organizationLeadership role (Jewish org)Other role (Jewish org)
Overall392818157
Engagement
Immersed5632413518
Connected5236332612
Involved43361296
Holiday2018531
Minimally Involved 14141<1<1
Region
Squirrel Hill5034272311
Rest of Pittsburgh4835252010
South Hills23161396
North Hills352418165
Rest of region38341286

Although there are no significant differences in Jewish volunteering by duration of residence in the Pittsburgh area, those who have lived in the area for less time tend be more active volunteers with non-Jewish organizations (Table 6.5b). By contrast, although residents ages 35-49 or 50-64 are most likely to report volunteering for leadership roles in Jewish organizations, the 35 to 49-year-olds are the least likely group to volunteer at all for non-Jewish organizations. Conservative Jews report the highest overall levels of taking leadership roles in Jewish organizations, while Orthodox Jews report the lowest rates of volunteering for non-Jewish organizations.

Table 6.5b Volunteering

(% of Jewish adults)
 Any volunteeringNon-Jewish volunteering Any Jewish organizationLeadership role (Jewish org)Other role (Jewish org)
Length of Residence
<10 years513820179
10-19 years4330241912
20+ years392821178
Household Structure
Inmarried5034282510
Intermarried393213104
Single adult(s)31231599
Household has child(ren)4731262110
No child(ren)403020168
Respondent Age
18-34423216138
35-493722242011
50-64412826229
65+463718148
Synagogue
Member5334363113
Non-member35281286
Denomination
Orthodox3210282213
Conservative 473329269
Reform4935241910
Other4732331316
None3328975

Overall, Pittsburgh-area Jews believe it is important to be involved with organizations supporting a wide variety of causes (Tables 6.6a and 6.6b). Education is very important to 83% of the community, and all engagement groups value that cause highly. Nearly as many believe that health and medicine (79%) is very important, as do almost three-quarters about social justice and women’s rights. Those in the Immersed group assign greater weight to causes related to Israel than do individuals from other groups. In every other engagement group, Israel appears to be less important than every other topic respondents were asked to value.

Unsurprisingly, older residents, who also tend to be those who have lived in the area the longest, believe health-related causes are more important than younger residents. Orthodox and Conservative Jews believe Israel is more important than adherents to other denominations or no denomination. The greatest difference between synagogue members and non-members, and between inmarried and intermarried couples, is also on Israel, with synagogue members and inmarried couples expressing greater interest.

Table 6.6a Very important causes

 EducationHealth/medicineSocial justiceWomen's rightsEnvironmentArts/culturePoliticsIsrael
Overall8379737265615953
Engagement
Immersed8578595663534475
Connected8175767960616753
Involved8683828076716454
Holiday6583745576677250
Minimally Involved8489578757594830
Region
Squirrel Hill8577797471566351
Rest of Pittsburgh8479828174766850
South Hills8288617659584358
North Hills8678657155585455
Rest of region6881555858616360

Table 6.6b Very important causes

(% of Jewish adults)
 EducationHealth/medicineSocial justiceWomen's rightsEnvironmentArts/culturePoliticsIsrael
Length of Residence
<10years7468676766595335
10-19 years8075727166686247
20+ years83
84737566636259
Household Structure
Inmarried84 79727664636658
Intermarried8079726773726943
Single adult(s)7983717366574854
Household with child(ren)8177707266586351
No child(ren)8281727466646054
Respondent Age
18-347377716575593950
35-498880747966666255
50-647881637256565952
65+8886828273707755
Synagogue
Member8578747362556166
Non-member8082717469686046
Denomination
Orthodox9376514453394093
Conservative 6880665963626264
Reform8279777967596747
Other6773968984806530
None8884738468725746