Increased attention toward educational tourism – namely to Israel – calls for reexamining the broader relationship between Israel defined here as the core country of Jewish peoplehood, and the sense of identification with the same Jewish peoplehood. This article reviews some basic concepts and central trends in contemporary Jewish identification, through comparisons between the United States and Israel. It focuses on the process and meaning of Jewish identity formation, and on the tools which participate in consolidating and preserving it. We review internal and external determinants , intervening variables , different dimensions of the target variable (Jewish identification), and its implications.
We examine the role of a strengthened relation of individuals with their core country (Israel) and other Jewish identification options available over the life course. We present a general model illustrative of the creation and maintenance of Jewish identification, defining the role of, and the expectations from educational tourism within it. A final comment concerns the choice of target population for educational tourism programs in view of the growing complexity in the definition of who is a Jew in recent years. Concepts and contexts presented here are suggested toward further research, public discourse, and planning of existing and future educational tourism initiatives.