Assessing the Teen Israel Experience: A Focus on In-Marriage, Raising Children Jewish and Jewish Engagement -- Comparing Teen Israel Trip Alumni with Birthright Israel Alumni and Young Adults from the Pew Survey

By Steven M. Cohen, Ezra Kopelowitz

Research Success Technologies, September 2014

To what extent and in what ways do trips to Israel by Jewish high school students influence their decisions, years later, to marry a Jewish person and raise Jewish children? Understanding the import and value of teen trips to Israel will play an important role in determining the nature and level of anticipated increased support for such endeavors. By focusing upon the alumni, age 18-39, of the Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), this research aims to contribute to our understanding of the long-range impact of Israel trips

To assess the impact of Y2I upon adult Jewish engagement as observed both a few years and many years after the high school trip to Israel first took place, we focus upon the rates of in-marriage and the percentage raising their children Jewish by religion. We then compare these results to a national profile of young adult American Jews drawn from the Pew Study who are otherwise similar with respect to age, parents’ in-marriage, denomination raised and Jewish schooling, and with Birthright Israel alumni, also adjusted to resemble the Y2I alumni with respect to parental and Jewish education background factors.

Both the Y2I and Birthright alumni display higher levels of Jewish engagement than does a national cross-section of Jewish young adults with similar patterns of parental in-marriage, denominational upbringing, and Jewish schooling. On matters of in-marriage and raising children Jewish Y2I alumni and Birthright alumni do not substantially differ from one another.

The evidence here certainly weighs in on the side of the efficacy of teen travel to Israel. Insofar as policy makers are seeking to enhance Jewish engagement on the part of students and young adults, teen travel to Israel does seem to impart the long-range effects sought after by Jewish communal policy makers and the philanthropists who invest in such trips.

Topic: Continuity, Intermarriage, Children, Israel Experience, Program Evaluation, Family, Marriage, Jewish Continuity, Evaluation

Funder: Lappin Foundation

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Genre: Report

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

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Bibliographic Information:
Cohen, Steven M. Kopelowitz, Ezra. Assessing the Teen Israel Experience: A Focus on In-Marriage, Raising Children Jewish and Jewish Engagement -- Comparing Teen Israel Trip Alumni with Birthright Israel Alumni and Young Adults from the Pew Survey. Research Success Technologies. September 2014: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=21754


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