Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “The Hard Economics Of High Holy Days”, NPR News, 09/27/2011 (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/27/140840049/the-hard-economics-of-high-holy-days)

The end of last week marked the Jewish New Year celebration, Rosh Hashana. This article discussed the impact of the slow economy on religion specifically Judaism. This article was a little surprising to me since even though I know that churches have to raise money and pay for buildings and other materials, economics is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when religion is mentioned. Also, it was interesting that the joyful New Year celebration is juxtaposed against tales of congregations losing members and thus funding. One such church had to merge with another in order to keep their building. And the interesting part was that one is a Reform Jewish congregation and the other was a Conservative congregation. Again, I don’t know all that much about Judaism but I found from the article that Conservative are the group that follow kosher laws, while the Reform don’t.
The tone of the article was analytical, but not harsh at all. The point of the article was more to bring the topic to the public. The emotions that are felt from this article, if any are more pity than anything for the churches that are forced to merge or close because of the economy. However, the end leaves the reader a little hopeful due to Rabbi Levi’s positive tone about the merger the Conservative congregation with his own.
This article is most interesting to me because it makes me wonder how congregations of other religions are being affected by the economic downturn. Are some religions affected more than others?The Jewish mostly have membership dues but Christians usually do not, does this magnify the economic effects more for one than the other? It would also be interesting to look at congregations in different areas, urban and rural and see if there’s a difference, as well as congregations around the world. Much like the article stated, the combining of congregations is “bittersweet” since it ends the independence of one, but brings new people together.

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