This first-of- its-kind academic conference to be held at Brandeis University on May 23-24, 2012, will explore what scholars, practitioners, and policy makers have learned and can learn from Taglit-Birthright Israel, the largest single educational program in the Jewish world today. Since it was launched in 1999, Taglit has brought nearly 300,000 Diaspora young adults, 18- to 26-years-old, to Israel and involved another 60,000 Israeli peers. The goals of the conference are to expand the number and variety of scholars and public policy intellectuals engaged in the examination of Taglit, to explore Taglit as a social experiment in educational innovation, and to review and integrate current knowledge on a wide variety of substantive issues including the following:
- The impact of Taglit on American Jewry and Jewish culture
- Taglit’s potential contributions to educational and social theory
- The “mifgash” as an inter-cultural encounter
The conference will feature a set of invited presentations and keynote addresses by leading scholars. The emphasis will be on dialogue and deliberation. It is expected that the conference will bring together 30-40 scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from North America and Israel.