The chicken for Rosh Hashanah dinner won’t be kosher.
Kosher meat is expensive, and Doreen Shelow can’t afford it.
“People think Jews aren’t poor,” said Shelow, 56, a disabled and divorced Jewish woman raising her grandson well below the poverty line in a tiny apartment in Somerton, in Northeast Philadelphia.
“It’s an aspect of poverty that’s overlooked. Even other Jews don’t accept that there are poor Jews.”
Often unseen and rarely discussed, Jewish poverty in the Philadelphia area hobbles lives in the same way it does among other ethnic and cultural groups. In fact, Jews may be among the poorest white people in the region.
According to an analysis by Allen Glicksman, director of research for the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging, 7 percent of Jewish people aged 18 to 39 were living at the poverty level ($19,790 for a family of three) in the five-county area in 2012. That’s compared with 6 percent of white Protestants and Catholics.
Glicksman used figures from the Community Health Data Base, originally developed by the Public Health Management Corp., a Philadelphia nonprofit.
There are greater differences among people 75 and older, Glicksman’s work shows. Twice as many Jews as white Protestants in the area lived in poverty: 6 percent vs. 3 percent. Among white Catholics, the number was 5 percent.