The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies just released their latest report of the Jewish Futures Project. The study follows 2,000 Jewish young adults who were applicants to Taglit in its early years. The report focuses on participant and non-participant applicants from 2001-2006. The results are stunning. As the "Birthright Israel generation" marries and establishes their own families, they continue to find that Taglit participants are nearly 50% more likely to inmarry, are more highly attached to Israel, and more likely to belong to a Jewish congregation.
From the Executive Summary:
The present report is the third in a series that examines the long-term impact of Taglit on alumni.The focus is on participants six to eleven years after their visit to Israel. The goal is to understand whether, and to what extent, participation in Taglit alters individuals’ Jewish identities and leads to engagement with Jewish life and Israel.
This study is based on data from a survey of a sample of individuals who applied to Taglit between 2001 and 2006. Interviews, both telephone and web, were conducted with nearly 2,000 respondents. The sample of applicants includes both participants and nonparticipants. The present study represents the third wave of data collection in a broad longitudinal study aimed at understanding young adults’ Jewish trajectories and assessing the long-term impact of Taglit. The first two waves of the study (conducted in 2009 and 2010) showed strong effects of Taglit participation, and the current analysis, with a sample that is more Jewishly diverse and includes older individuals who are more likely to be married, increases confidence in the previous findings.
The findings focus on respondents who were not raised Orthodox, and the analysis compares responses of Taglit participants to a comparison group of individuals who applied to the program but did not participate. At the time of application/trip, there were few systematic differences between participants and nonparticipants. Overall, the results indicate that, despite the increasing time lag since the Taglit experience, there is substantial evidence of the program’s positive impact on a broad range of measures having to do with an individual’s Jewish identity, relationship to Israel, and connection to the Jewish people.
Across a diverse set of attitudinal and behavioral measures, Taglit has a significant impact on Jewish engagement and involvement. The mechanisms by which Taglit is able to achieve these results in such a short time frame will continue to be the focus of ongoing investigations. The extent to which these findings will continue over time as participants become more removed from the experience remains to be seen. The results of the present study, however, provide an optimistic assessment of the millennial generation’s likelihood of maintaining a strong identification with the Jewish community and potential for contributing to Jewish life in America.
Read the entire report here.