Concerned about declining interest in its free 10-day trips to Israel, Taglit-Birthright has hired a marketing agency to seek out new participants, targeting college students with little or no connection to the Jewish community. According to figures obtained by Haaretz, registration among North American Jews for Birthright’s summer trips dropped by more than 17 percent between 2011 and 2013. This followed a consistent upward trend ever since the program was launched 14 years ago.
The precise reasons for the downturn are unclear, but sources in Jewish organizations say Birthright might be close to maximizing its traditional candidate pool of affiliated or moderately affiliated young Jews.
Mr Youth, the marketing and social media agency hired by Birthright, has been instructed to widen the circle of potential candidates by targeting a group described as “low affiliated” young Jews. Loosely defined, these are young adults with at least one Jewish parent who have little or no formal connection to the Jewish community. As a result, they’ve escaped Birthright’s reach. In recent weeks, Mr Youth helped recruit applicants for Birthright’s upcoming summer trips with great success, according to the program’s chief executive.
The number of North Americans registered for summer 2014 trips rose by almost 20 percent from last year to 39,723. The summer trips are the main draw for Birthright participants, as they tend to coincide with vacation from studies and work.
Read more at Haaretz.