Study: Chareidim Tops in Israel for Chessed Work

Piles of carrots are seen at a Jerusalem chessed food distribution center before Pesach, April 3, 2012. Photo by Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.
Piles of carrots are seen at a Yerushalayim chessed food distribution center before Pesach, April 3, 2012. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

New numbers from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) indicate that chareidi and religious Jews donate significantly more of their time in volunteer work than do secular Jews. The CBS study showed that in the past year, 1.2 million Israelis engaged in volunteer work, but that a higher percentage of the chareidi and religious populations – 40% and 39% respectively – did volunteer work, compared with 23% of Israelis who classified themselves as traditional, and 25% who listed themselves as secular.

The data was released Monday in conjunction with International Volunteer Day, which is to be commemorated this week.

According to the study, 46% of volunteers did their work through the auspices of an organization, while 39% did volunteer work privately of their own volition. An additional 15% worked in both areas. Of the Israelis who volunteered via organizations – a total of 729,000 people – 39% were involved with chessed groups that helped needy families with food and other assistance.

Twenty-one percent volunteered in educational settings, as tutors, youth group workers, etc. Forty percent of volunteers put in up to 9 hours of work a month, 37% worked 10 or more hours, and 18% had varying hours each month.

Of the volunteers, 94% said that they were “satisfied” with their lives, while 44% said they were “very satisfied.” Among non-volunteers, only 28% said they were satisfied with their lives. In addition, the study indicates that volunteers – 61% of them – are more optimistic about the future, compared to 53% of non-volunteers.