The Convening, hosted by the Weinberg Foundation, was a series of conversations among experts on Jewish poverty, including researchers, direct-service providers, federation leaders, and philanthropists.


This report from the Weinberg Foundation provides a review of research and major initiatives focused on Jewish poverty in the United States. The goal of this report is to inform the Foundation’s work on behalf of low-income American Jews by collating much of the recent research and data focused on Jewish poverty, understanding several of the predictors of Jewish poverty at both the national and regional levels, and understanding the landscape of service delivery to low-income Jews.


The panel discussed the challenges of poverty in general throughout the US, as well as the unique aspects of Jewish poverty. It also assessed the current research on low-income Jewish households and identified potential next steps related to national Jewish poverty. You can view the keynote panel here:

Panelists included

Wes Moore
Robin Hood Foundation

Alan Cooperman
Director, Religion Research
Pew Research Center

Sarah Abramson
VP, Caring, Community Impact and Strategic Partnerships
Combined Jewish Philanthropies


Sessions focused on specific aspects of Jewish poverty, including services for Holocaust survivors, perspectives from the press, building a system of comprehensive case management for low-income Jews, enhancing research and data on Jewish poverty, among others. Leading experts in their fields each authored a specific concept paper (linked below). Those in attendance had the opportunity to hear these experts speak further on their papers and to engage in an active discussion during the breakout sessions.

Advancing Research on Jewish Poverty:
Improving and aligning the data we collect so that Jewish communities can identify and serve vulnerable populations.
by Alan Cooperman (Pew Research Center) and Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz (Jewish Federations of North America)

Innovative Approaches to Combating Hunger:
How two Jewish Federations are leveraging technology and data to decrease hunger and increase dignity in their communities.
by Alexandra Roth-Kahn and Abbe Pick (UJA-Federation of New York) and Raquel Romirowsky (Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia)

Jewish Poverty in the Media:
Why are poor Jews rarely found in media portrayals of the American Jewish community, and how can the media make Jewish poverty a more urgent concern?
by Jane Eisner (The Forward)

No Wrong Door:
One Jewish Federation’s approach to addressing poverty in our community.
by Sarah Abramson and Amanda Badolato (Combined Jewish Philanthropies)

The Silent Predictor:
Exploring the intersection of gender and Jewish poverty.
by Naomi Tucker (Shalom Bayit)

When More Than Half a Billion Dollars is Not Enough:
The efforts and challenges faced by the Claims Conference and its partner agencies, such as in Chicago, in addressing the unmet need of vulnerable Holocaust survivors.
by Miriam Weiner (Claims Conference) and Yonit Hoffman (CJE SeniorLife)


This was a fast-paced series of presentations by nonprofit and community leaders sharing examples of evidence-based, replicable programs.

  • A Vision for Change:
    One synagogue’s story of helping to catalyze a city to end family homelessness.
    Led by Rabbi Ryan Bauer (Congregation Emanu-El)
  • Community in Action:
    Leaving egos at the door, Detroit Jewish leaders use design thinking to combat poverty.
    Led by Perry Ohren (Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit)
  • Shelter as a Holistic Refuge:
    The missing link in a coordinated community response.
    Led by Joy Solomon (The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale)

In partnership with the Jewish Funders Network, the Foundation is supporting a nationwide collaborative effort dedicated to addressing the issue of poverty within the Jewish community throughout the United States—The National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty. This affinity group was founded at the inaugural National Convening on Jewish Poverty. To learn more about this ongoing work, click here.

For any questions, please reach out to Jon Hornstein at