Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Please Take The Economic Survey over at Ezzie's

Ezzie has put up a Jewish economic survey over at his blog. As he states:

Jewish Economics

Welcome to the Jewish Economics Survey!

Together with the help of others within the Orthodox Jewish community, all of whom have a reasonable understanding of economics and budgeting, this quick, simple [and anonymous] survey has been constructed for the use of the Orthodox public. The primary purposes of this study are:
* To gain a better understanding of what it costs the average frum person, couple, or family to live
* To compare the costs of living between different Orthodox communities
* To gather information as to which expenses people have a better grasp on vs. which they do not
* To gauge the preparedness of people within the community for times of crisis and economic downturns

Once all the information is gathered, that information will then be utilized in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:
* Assessing where the Jewish community's economic struggles lie and how to address those struggles
* Better preparing and educating young couples and individuals of the types and magnitude of the expenses that they can expect to face throughout life, and how best to go about doing so
* Utilizing that better education on the individual level to improve upon and create viable Jewish institutions that follow a sustainable economic model

The more precise the answers people give, the better we can have an understanding of just what things cost and what people spend. If you feel uncomfortable answering any question, please skip it or answer "Rather Not Say". (If it is listed as "required", make sure to type Rather Not Say.)

Ezzie Goldish

In order to get as good a picture as possible, it would be most helpful if everyone responds.

The Wolf


Ezzie said...

Thanks so much, Wolf.

JSC said...

I went there ready to answer the questions, only to embarrassingly realize that I have NO idea of how much I spend on many of these things

Ezzie said...

JSC - That's part of the point. :)

Warren Burstein said...

Together with the help of others within the Orthodox Jewish community, all of whom have a reasonable understanding of economics and budgeting

Do they have an understanding of how to ensure that the people who 1) use the internet 2) chance to come across the survey and 3) decide to answer it, are representative of the community that is being studied?

Ezzie said...

Warren - Those are all fair questions, and to some extent, any online survey is limited in similar fashions.

We don't expect a perfect representation of the Jewish community as a whole or any Jewish community in particular; one of the objectives is to get a sampling of ranges that people spend. It won't be a perfect sample, but (and we're certainly getting this so far) the hope is to get a reasonable enough sample to see where the ranges lie and are concentrated, to see where people's heaviest expenses are, etc.

It will of course be limited for the reasons you stated, but we think the information will still be very useful.

cipher said...

Ezzie, why didn't you just call it "Frum Economics"? Is it because your readership is frum, or is it that you don't regard frei Jews as leading "Jewish" lives?

Ezzie said...


The survey is rather clear that it's directed at the Orthodox community, which has a much more specific set of issues in regards to expenses - from food to education to other issues throughout the year (making Yom Tov, etc.).

cipher said...

I realize that, but it doesn't really answer my question.

And, actually, I perused it - it really isn't all that clear from the survey questions, apart from one or two references such as "shaitel" or "tichel". You don't ask, for example, "How much do you spend on yeshiva per year?" Yes, one would know from the introduction, in which you state:

* To gain a better understanding of what it costs the average frum person, couple, or family to live
* To compare the costs of living between different Orthodox communities

But, again - why didn't you call it "Orthodox Economic Survey"?

Ezzie said...

I liked how it sounded better.

G said...


if you have a point to make, make it.

cipher said...

Well, I was going to leave it alone, but since you press me -

A frei person, such as myself, might infer that Ezzie doesn't regard frei Jews as "real" Jews.

BrooklynWolf said...

I don't think that's what Ezzie means. I've used "Jewish" for "Orthodox" before as well. It, in no way, means to imply that you aren't "really" Jewish.

The Wolf

cipher said...


Ezzie said...

Wolf - I think Cipher's objection is to people using Jewish in place of Orthodox, as if it implicitly implies his statement of "frei Jews" not being "real Jews".

Obviously that isn't at all what people are thinking about when they say Jewish, and in terms of the survey, I think it's clear enough in the introduction that the survey is intended for the Orthodox community.

People use Jews or Jewish all the time when in fact they're referring primarily to their segment of it, which is but one reason why I'm not particularly concerned with a nitpicky complaint on whether the word could somehow imply something that a reasonable person understands it does not. I think it's clear that the word Jewish in the title was not a code word for "only Orthodox people are Jewish".

Ariella said...

Well, one advantage of paying for most things with a credit card is a written record of how much is spent at stores, schools, E-z pass, MetroCards, etc. each month. Of course, the danger is spending more than you have and getting into the pit of credit card debt.

BrooklynWolf said...


You can get the very same benefit (without the interest charges) from a debit card. Or a pen and notebook.

The Wolf

Ezzie said...

Ariella - Yes. Firstly, Wolf is correct that debit cards offer the same easy information; though on the flip side, it really depends on when people's cash inflows and outflows are. Credit cards are useful in that they allow bills to be paid on time even if a paycheck is only received later in the month. But credit cards should be used only for necessary expenses, of course.

Anonymous said...

Question: Own or Rent?

My answer: Neither. I live with my parents and I don't pay them anything for it.

Ezzie said...

So that's like renting at $0/month. Or you could have your parents fill it out. :)

Great word verif: