Search results for: Birthright Israel
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The study of diaspora policies in political science, international relations, and political geography has moved away from conceiving diasporas as bounded entities to conceptualizing diasporas as a process to be made. One body of literature maps different strategies employed to bond diasporas to their country of origin, while another body of literature pays specific attention to diasporic identities and the ways such identities are reproduced and constructed abroad. This article seeks to bring these two literatures together by focusing on homeland tourism as a diasporization strategy, i.e. the construction, reproduction, and transmission of diasporic identity. Through the case of Taglit-Birthright – a free educational trip to Israel offered to young Jewish adults – the article identifies the specific mechanisms and micro-practices used in order to transform Israeli territory into a Jewish homeland, reproduce the narrative of dispersion, and demarcate group boundaries.
Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
An event last week marked the end of the sixth year of the Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program. “The Jewish world’s business leadership community built in recent years by Birthright Israel is a project of significant importance, bearing many fruits to be harvested in years to come. Through the program, Jewish students receive an unparalleled opportunity to get to know the country and intern in its leading companies. We have already witnessed the cultivation of strong ties between future business leaders of the American Jewish community and Israel’s business sector. These bonds result in far reaching and extensive international collaborations” said Gidi Mark, International CEO of Birthright Israel, at the closing event.
Updated: Aug. 31, 2016
As the newest cohort of Birthright Israel Fellows convenes this week in San Diego, the program continues to evolve as it seeks to raise the overall level and quality of the Birthright Israel trip experience. To help affect this change, Birthright Israel has hired a full-time Director of the Birthright Israel Fellows program to engage with the nearly 400 current fellows, as well as the continually growing cadre of specially-trained Birthright Israel staff that will participate in the program in the coming years. During the four-day seminar in San Diego, run in partnership with the iCenter for Israel Education, the latest cohort will learn from experts in Jewish, Israel, and experiential education. The participants will begin staffing trips this summer.
Updated: Apr. 07, 2016
Most Birthright Applicants Functionally Illiterate about Israel according to New Brandeis University Study
A new Brandeis University study finds that among surveyed Birthright candidates, over 50% couldn’t correctly answer even half of the basic questions requiring minimal knowledge of the Jewish state. In a continuing multi-year project, researchers from Brandeis University’s Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies are working together with a broad team of experts to understand and assess Israel literacy. According to the authors, Israel literacy is “the requisite knowledge to participate in productive conversations about Israel.” Dismally, the team found that regardless of their Jewish background and the ranking of their universities, relatively few students are Israel literate.
Updated: Dec. 02, 2015
Demystifying a Black Box: A Grounded Theory of How Travel Experiences Impact the Jewish Identity Development of Jewish Emerging Adults
The positive impact on the Jewish Identity Development of Jewish Emerging Adults of both the 10 day trips to Israel popularly known as Birthright trips and the service learning trips commonly known as Alternative Spring Breaks has been well-documented. However, the mechanics of how this positive impact occurs has not been well-understood. This grounded theory study interviewed participants from both trips and found that there is an observable and ongoing cognitive processing of their trip experience by the participants that organically influences identity development. This process can be modeled and utilized to develop more effective staff training and program content for Jewish experiential education travel programs.
Updated: Dec. 02, 2015
A privately funded organization has taken on the challenge of preventing Jewish identity from eroding among assimilated US Jews, by providing subsidized trips for interfaith couples to explore their Jewish roots in Israel. The Honeymoon Israel organization brings married couples in which at least one spouse is Jewish to Israel, for a tour during which participants get to sample everything from local food to ancient Jewish religious sites. During the nine-day tours the couples are taken to Jewish religious sites, given presentations on Jewish and Zionist history, and encouraged to sample the local cuisine, for an experience reminiscent of those provided by the popular Birthright visit to Israel for those 18-26 years of age.
Updated: Nov. 11, 2015
Marking the 2nd anniversary of the release of the 2013 Pew Research Center’s Portrait of Jewish Americans, a highly diverse group of thought leaders from all around the United States has framed a “Statement on Jewish Vitality,” advocating strategic responses to respond to the challenges to the Jewish future. American Jewry now stands at a crossroads. Our choices are stark: we either accept as inevitable the declining numbers of engaged Jews, or we work to expand the community and improve the quality of Jewish life going forward. Despite the evidence of deeply disturbing population trends, the community is bereft of any sense of crisis.
Updated: Oct. 15, 2015
August 5, 2015 marks the end of the 2015 Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship Program, a two-month internship program for American and Canadian college students that aims to build lasting relationships for the participants with Israel. The program is a branch of Taglit-Birthright, which sponsors free educational 10-day trips to Israel. The fellowship program – called Birthright Excel – is designed for sophomores, juniors and seniors in American and Canadian universities who want internships in the business and technology sectors.
Updated: Aug. 09, 2015
In the wake of the Israel-Hamas war in summer 2014, US and Canadian college campuses were the settings for many anti-Israel activities, including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. This report has two aims: first, to understand the extent of hostility toward Israel and antisemitism on North American campuses and second, to assess the relationship between these trends and Jewish students’ support for and connection to Israel. The study, conducted in spring 2015, draws on a survey of US and Canadian college students and young adults who applied to Taglit-Birthright Israel.
Updated: Aug. 09, 2015
On a recent weekend, the Bring Israel Home program brought together representatives of a dozen high impact Jewish organizations with 11 Birthright groups, including 65 Israeli participants, to prove that effective Birthright follow-up is possible. Located in Camp Lavi in eastern Pennsylvania, the alumni and Israelis came to experience the reunion of a lifetime with their Birthright groups that included paintball, swimming, canoeing, a bungee trampoline and assorted sports, as well as lavish Shabbat meals, under the stars singing, a pre-Shabbat and havdallah concert featuring the Pey Dalid band, and a midnight barbeque complete with fireworks over the lake.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2015