Are Jews altruistic in a particularistic or universalistic way? I have heard both claims. The General Social Survey asked close to 2,700 Americans about their religious affiliation and a number of questions about giving help to strangers. Here are the percentages:
Percent who have done it at least once in the past year
Given directions to a stranger
Offered a seat to a stranger
Carried a stranger's belongings
Allowed a stranger to go ahead in line
Given money to a homeless person
There is no evidence that Jews are much different than anyone else. Where their numbers are a little higher, they probably have the advantage of more opportunities to help because of living in urban areas in high numbers. For an altruistic behavior that requires more effort and is less opportunistic, like giving blood, Jews fall behind a bit.
And notice how people with no religion are just as altruistic as those claiming one--maybe more so.
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