Current Trends in Jewish Teen Participation with Out-of-School Activities :A Survey and Analysis of Relevant Research

Feb. 02, 2010

Source: Rose Community Foundation 


Rose Community Foundation of Denver, Colorado has released a report they commissioned to study Jewish teen participation with out of school activities. The report is a review of existing research. Among the findings: Jewish teens report the highest rates of any common U.S. religion of both desiring, and lacking quality adult connections with members of their faith.


Project Background


This project was initiated in the fall of 2009 by Rose Community Foundation to identify, evaluate and document recent research and study into Jewish teens and their involvement with Jewish and non-Jewish out-of-school activities. The purpose was to identify trends and patterns in motivations of Jewish youth in choosing to participate (or not) in different out-of-school activities. Declining participation rates in both formal and informal Jewish programming have been well documented nationally, and local programs have not been immune to this trend. Developing an understanding of common motivations and interests of Jewish teens will help local organizations serving Jewish youth adapt both programmatic and marketing strategies to be more responsive to the interests of local teens. The goal is that this research will guide philanthropists, Jewish institutions serving teens, program staff, and social innovators when they assess current programs and create new programs and marketing strategies.


Some Key Findings:

  • Need for Qualified, Trained Instructors
  • Teens Need Authentic Leadership Opportunities and Meaningful Adult Leadership.
  • Teens (boys and girls alike) were clear that they were far less likely to participate in programs in which cliquish or exclusive behavior is common, or where the same group of kids is always present.
  • Jewish teens are significantly influenced by both the beliefs and actions of their parents. The data are clear that parental encouragement of participation in Jewish activities dramatically increases actual participation rates.
  • Jewish teens report the highest rates of any common U.S. religion of both desiring, and lacking quality adult connections with members of their faith.
  • The research demonstrates that as involvement with after school activities increases among Jewish teens, so does their willingness to participate with Jewish-focused activities.
  • There appears to be a potentially sizable population of Jewish teens who are interested and willing to participate more fully in Jewish life activities, but have not been engaged effectively.
  • Teens (and their parents) are interested in programs that are seen to be new and different.
  • Many researchers cite the need for increased coordination across the portfolio of organizations serving the needs and interests of Jewish teens and that the current competition and fragmentation often observed does not serve the needs of teens, nor ultimately of the Jewish community.
Updated: Apr. 21, 2010