Day 16: The Face of Jewish Poverty in Toronto

According to the National Household Survey (NHS) released by Statistics Canada in 2011, more than 24,000 Jews across the GTA live below the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) line, defined as after-tax household income below $20,386 for one person.

In response to the figures released by the NHS, UJA commissioned The Face of Poverty: A Jewish Community Study (2016). The study, based on 274 respondents to a survey, 15 individual interviews, and 33 focus group participants, revealed the needs and challenges of economically disadvantaged Jews in the GTA, with shocking findings.

Poverty in the Jewish community is real, and it has many faces.

Jewish poor live in all geographic areas of the GTA.


Education is not a determining factor of poverty in the Jewish community.

povertyslidePoverty does not discriminate. It cuts across the lifespan and impacts our youngest and oldest community members. Of the 24,000 Jewish poor across the GTA, 5000+ are seniors (2,250 of them are
Holocaust survivors), and 3,500+ are children under 15.

Poverty is a barrier to living Jewishly. Poverty can decrease levels of engagement in mainstream Jewish life because there is a premium to living along the “Bathurst corridor”, with proximity to Jewish amenities such as synagogues, Jewish schools, and Jewish stores. The costs of Jewish education, Jewish summer camp, Jewish programs, kosher food, synagogue memberships, and Jewish events and functions, can be inhibitory.


UJA is helping

Thanks to many generous donors and to UJA’s unique infrastructure, which brings together several community agencies including Bernard Betel Centre, Jewish Family & Child Services (JF&CS), Circle of Care, JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Services) Toronto, Kehilla Residential Programme, and JCCs of Greater Toronto, we’re able to develop an integrated, holistic response to poverty among our community’s most vulnerable members.

What can you do?
We need to ensure a life of dignity for our most vulnerable community members and build a stronger Jewish identity for generations to come.

Here’s how you can help:

• Educate yourself
• Raise awareness – keep the conversation going
• Give your time
• Donate professional services – accounting, legal, dental, home repair
• Mentor someone and connect them to opportunities
• Develop a personal connection to someone who’s isolated
• Donate funds to UJA

You can have the biggest impact.
For more information on how you can help, please contact us at

UJA. Helping each other alleviate Jewish poverty.

Through UJA you can make the biggest impact on the issues you care about most. Make a gift to UJA today.

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