Serving a Complex Israel: A Report on Israel-based Immersive Jewish Service-learning

Jan. 05, 2013

Source: Repair Labs


Repair the World, in conjunction with the Jewish Agency for Israel, is pleased to announce the release of a new study, “Serving a Complex Israel: A Report on Israel-based Immersive Jewish Service-learning.” The study shows that contrary to common assumptions held in the Jewish world, exposing young Jews to the complex issues underlying Israeli society increases their commitment to the country and motivates them to want to work towards social change in Israel.


The study, conducted by Rosov Consulting, LLC and funded in part by the Jim Joseph Foundation and The Morningstar Foundation, surveyed 332 young Jewish adults who participated in at least one of 12 different IJSL programs in Israel from August 2009 to June 2012.


All those who took part in programs during this period were invited to complete the survey. The final response rate was 62.5%.


This study was designed to address the following primary research questions:

  1. Who participates in Israel-based IJSL programs?
  2. Why do they choose to participate? (i.e., what are participants’ primary motivations for choosing (a) to do service; (b) to do so abroad; and (c) to do so in Israel?)
  3. What happens for participants as a result of the programs? (An open-ended inquiry looking at what participants perceive to have been the consequences – for them – of having participated in programs).
  4. What are the implications of these learnings for funders and providers of Israel-based IJSL programs?

Who Participates in Israel-Based IJSL Programs?

At the time of application one-quarter of the study participants were pre-college, high school graduates, while just over one-third were enrolled in college programs. Although the majority of respondents had previously been to Israel, for the great majority their IJSL program was a first experience of immersive service-learning of any sort and of living in Israel over an extended length of time.


Motivations: Why Do They Choose to Participate?

A multitude of motivations drew respondents to apply to and then participate in their respective IJSL programs. These include the desire to pursue service work, express Jewish identities, and spend a significant amount of time in Israel – all while learning new skills and having fun.


Outcomes: What Happens as a Result of the Program?

The study shows that as a result of participating in IJSL programs:

96% of respondents gained a more nuanced understanding of Israel;

79% felt more connected to their Jewish heritage and identity;

78% more connected to global Jewry;

85% want to learn more about Israel; and

85% of respondents reported that their conversations about social justice have increased.

Responses showed that there is a widespread desire among millennial Jewish adults to create change in the world, while simultaneously growing as leaders and connecting to Jewish life. IJSL programs in Israel provide young adults with that opportunity.

The complete report is available here.

Updated: Mar. 12, 2013