What are the key reasons for synagogue membership?

Survey finds men join for prayer. For women, the social aspect is important


Joining a burial society is the second most popular reason for belonging to a synagogue — and the main one among older people — a JC poll has found.

Exactly a quarter of respondents to a question by Survation said they became members of a congregation for burial rights. The figure rose according to age, with 32 per cent of the 55-plus citing burial as their main membership priority, against just eight per cent of the 18-34s.

The top survey response, 29 per cent, represented those who said they joined a synagogue primarily to pray. The figure among 18-34s was 37 per cent, falling to 25 per cent for the 55-plus.

Nearly 19 per cent of the 350 men and 433 women polled put the social aspect as their main reason for joining a synagogue. Around 22 per cent cited unspecified other factors.

Two per cent came to collect attendance points in order to meet the entry requirements for a Jewish school place.

More men cited praying as the paramount reason for synagogue membership, nearly 35 per cent compared to 25 per cent of female respondents.

The social aspect was more important to women, 22 per cent compared to 14 per cent of men.

Piety appears most pronounced in the north-west, where 39 per cent said worship was their main reason to belong. The figure for London was almost 30 per cent and it was 26 per cent among respondents from elsewhere in the UK.

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