(JNS.org) A study by the London Jewish Chronicle has revealed that maintaining a Jewish lifestyle in the United Kingdom incurs annual extra expenses of £12,700 ($18,432) per family. The figure was reached through a "Kosher Chicken Index"—a comparison of goods that Jews are likely to buy to maintain a Jewish lifestyle versus equivalent mainstream products.
When it comes to kosher food, a comparison of prices in a kosher store versus the British Tesco supermarket chain for five food groups found that kosher meat costs on average is double the price of non-kosher meat. When dining out, prices at kosher Indian or Chinese restaurants are 70 percent higher than at equivalent non-kosher restaurants.
Another large extra cost incurred by Jews in the U.K. involves real estate. One-fifth of British Jews live in the north London borough of Barnet, where property prices are 157 percent higher than average prices in England and Wales.
Membership at a typical synagogue in Britain costs about £600-800 ($870-$1,161) per household, and Jewish state schools charge an annual premium of as much as £2,000 ($2,903) per child.
In addition, the average Jewish wedding in the U.K. this past year cost £55,000 ($79,844), with the U.K. average being half that sum. Teenage tours to Israel cost about £2,800 ($4,065) per child, while post-university Israel gap years cost about £10,000 ($14,517) to £15,000 ($21,780). Attending the Limmud initiative's educational events costs about £1,270 ($1,844), and some kosher-for-Passover vacations can cost as much as 400 percent more than regular vacations.
While the British Jewish community tends to be affluent, with average earnings per Jewish household 54 percent higher than the U.K. average, 40 percent of Orthodox families in the Stamford Hill neighborhood of London rely on charity to make ends meet.