Search results for: Jewish identity
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Jewish Futures Project. Birthright Israel's First Decade of Applicants: A Look at the Long-term Program Impact
The Jewish Futures Project (JFP) has been following multiple cohorts of Birthright participants, and others who applied to the program but did not go, for over a decade. In the sixth wave of the JFP study, we explore whether Birthright’s long-documented impact on connection to Israel and engagement in Jewish life persists, as participants grow older, and the trip recedes further in their memory.
Updated: Dec. 09, 2020
The values that begin to solidify during adolescence can be steered by experiential education programs designed to inculcate a set of attitudes and behaviors in their participants. One such program, Jewish Youth Philanthropy, socializes adolescents into recognizing the importance of donating both to Jewish causes and within a Jewish framework. This paper examines the relationship between these programs and the development of Jewish and donor identities during adolescence. It suggests that surveyed Jewish youth philanthropy participants are more likely than non-participants to perceive themselves as donors, but that their Jewish identities are viewed as justifications for prosocial behavior, not drivers of it.
Updated: Aug. 18, 2020
The articles in this issue confirm that today’s Jewish teenagers are a generation of creative thinkers; they will not be the passive recipients of an ancient tradition. Instead, they are broadly categorized as a generation from whom Jewish wisdom, values, and tradition are most readily adapted when presented in a nondogmatic, inquiry-based approach, where their role is to internalize, make sense of, and produce their own meaning. There is a tremendous opportunity for educators and for places of Jewish learning if they adapt to these practices: a generation of Jewish teenagers is open and willing to actively participate in those journeys.
Updated: Aug. 17, 2020
The Israeli government on Sunday approved what it said was the first-ever comprehensive plan geared toward securing the future of Diaspora Jewry, though few details about concrete measures to assist struggling communities outside of Israel were released. The outline of the program was presented to the cabinet by Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch, based on the findings of an advisory committee headed by Maxine Fassberg, a South Africa-born former senior Intel executive, and Moscow native Eugene Kandel, a Hebrew University professor and former senior economic adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Updated: Jul. 12, 2020
On Becoming a ‘Real’ Jew: An Ethnography of Adolescents’ Identity Formation in a Jewish Community in Germany
In the course of an ethnographic investigation in the youth group of a Jewish community that included participant observation, group discussions and problem-centred interviews, I gained insights into the contextualised construction of Jewish identities. Analysing identity formation as a holistic form of learning, I identify two trajectories of socially embedded identity formation: appropriating aspects of Judaism taught in the youth group and becoming a part of the Jewish collective. Within the latter trajectory, I differentiate three sub-processes: forming and evaluating social representations of the Jewish people, ascribing ‘Jewishness’ to oneself, and experiencing communality.
Updated: Jun. 15, 2020
Understanding How Under-Engaged Jewish Teens Self-Articulate and Self-Express Jewish Identity and Jewish Identification
This study was inspired by the abundance of literature regarding the withdrawal of non-Orthodox American Jewish teenagers from an active Jewish life. This situation has been called an “epidemic that threatens the future of American Jewry” (Ravitch, 2002b, p. 254). This study sought to answer the primary research question: How do under-engaged Jewish teens self-articulate and self-express Jewish identity and Jewish identification? Portraiture methodology was used to capture how three Atlanta-suburb teenagers articulated and expressed their Jewish identity and Jewish identification. Each of the study participants grew up attending supplemental Jewish education programs and celebrated their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, but then disengaged from organized communal Jewish education or social experiences. As current high school junior and seniors, the study participants reflected on how Judaism has shaped who they are, their interactions with Judaism in their daily lives, and the ongoing meaning they derive from being a part of the Jewish people.
Updated: Jun. 02, 2020
Since its launch, in late December 1999, approximately 750,000 Jewish young adults – more than 425,000 from the United States – have participated in Birthright’s ten-day educational programs. Numerous studies have demonstrated Birthright’s impact on the Jewish identity of its participants. Less appreciated is how the program is reshaping American Jewry’s demographic profile. When Birthright was launched, there were approximately 5.5 million Jews in the United States. Today, the US Jewish population is 7.5 million individuals, a 25% increase. Birthright is not solely responsible for the growth, but the program has become emblematic of efforts to engage future generations with Jewish life.
Updated: Feb. 06, 2020
This study focuses on two groups of Birthright Israel participants: first, those from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus and second, Russian-speaking Jews (RSJ) in Germany. It is part of a larger program of research designed to understand the impact of Birthright Israel (known in the FSU and Germany as Taglit) on its participants. The study draws on pre- and post-trip surveys of the summer 2017 cohort from these countries, as well as on a long-term survey of participants from Russia and Ukraine who participated in the program during 2010-14.
Updated: Nov. 07, 2019
Many Israelis living in the United States long-term or for good struggle to find ways to help their children feel connected to their Israeli identity. One of the most important aspects of this identity is ensuring that their children can communicate in Hebrew — not just on a conversational level but on a deeper, emotional and cognitive level that often requires formal training. Previously, most options for Hebrew instruction were centered around religious observance and taught at religious Jewish day schools. But Israeli parents who feel alienated by the religious instruction typical of Jewish day schools are increasingly creating alternative, structured educational programs so their children can receive secular Hebrew instruction.
Updated: Nov. 06, 2019
‘Marching at the Speed of the Slowest Man’: The Facilitation and Regulation of Student Autonomy in a Pluralist Jewish Day School
Based on interviews and focus groups with parents, students and senior staff, this article investigates how England’s one pluralist Jewish secondary school has, in contrast, attempted to accommodate various forms of Jewish practice and facilitate students’ agency to determine their Jewish identities as desired. It reveals that students enjoy opportunities to actively negotiate Judaism, but that their autonomy is not without limits, and issues inherent to pluralism exist in executing an ethos accommodative of diverse, personalized expressions of Jewishness.
Updated: Sep. 25, 2019