Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future commissioned a study to shed some light on Rabbinic Compensation and Benefits. The survey was distributed to some 1,000 rabbis across North America, including those who serve as teachers, chaplains, campus rabbis, and are retired, in addition to those with a current pulpit. A total of 265 rabbis responded, representing a cross-section of Orthodox rabbis across the U.S. and Canada.
Here are some stats from the study:
• The average synagogue in the study employs close to two rabbis, with large synagogues, defined as those with 500 or more member units, employing almost three.
• The average synagogue employs the equivalent of about 1.6 full-time office employees.
• The median 2017 compensation for all rabbis in the survey is $90,000. For senior rabbis, the median is $100,000; associate rabbis $85,000; assistant rabbis $65,000; and campus rabbis $77,000.
• Pay varies significantly by the size of the synagogue. The median compensation for senior rabbis at large synagogues is $200,000, medium size synagogues (200-499 member units) $150,000, and small synagogues is $70,000.
• More than half (52 percent) of the surveyed rabbis do not receive health benefits, although a significant portion of them are covered under their wife’s plan.
• Nearly seven out of 10 rabbis do not receive any life or disability insurance from their synagogue, and only slightly more than 50 percent receive retirement benefits.
• Only about 20 percent live in a synagogue-owned home or apartment, or have a joint arrangement. The vast majority own or rent the residence in which they live.
• Vacation benefits are generous, however, with half of the rabbis receiving four-to-five weeks annually, and 20 percent entitled to six or more weeks.
• About 58 percent have additional employment, with the most common secondary position as a Judaic studies faculty member.
• Rabbis also supplement their income with rabbinic-related activities, such as officiating at lifestyle events, although it is typically a minimal amount; two-thirds make less than $2,500 a year doing so.
• They also typically get reimbursed for certain job-related expenses, such as conferences and professional development, entertaining guests on Shabbat and holidays and cell phone usage.