Since 1999, Taglit-Birthright Israel has sent nearly 350,000 young Jewish adults from more than 50 countries on free, 10-day educational tours of Israel. Established by a group of Jewish philanthropists, in collaboration with the Israeli government and Jewish communities around the world, Taglit aims to encourage Jewish continuity, foster engagement with Israel, and forge a new relationship among Jews around the world. Since the program's inception, CMJS has been conducting rigorous research to evaluate the program and learn about its impact on the current generation of Jewish young adults.
Focusing on findings from a study of summer 2014 applicants and participants, this report is the latest in a series of studies of Taglit-Birthright Israel. Summer 2014 was notable for three reasons. First, the summer trips attracted the largest group of applicants from this region since the program’s inception. Second, for the first time, applicants who had had a peer educational experience in Israel during their high school years were eligible to apply to the program. Third, the program occurred during a six-week war in which missiles were fired from Gaza into Israeli population centers and Israel responded with a military intervention in Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge.” The report focuses on understanding the degree to which the change in the applicant pool affected perceptions of the trip experience, the impact of the trip itself on connection to Israel and sense of Jewish identity, and the impact of the conflict in Gaza on trip experiences and trip impact.
The findings in this report were derived from data collected in 2013 for the fourth wave of the Jewish Futures Project, a longitudinal study of Jewish young adults. The expanded number of panelists with families allows for new analyses of marriage patterns and child rearing, including the study of applicant subgroups (e.g., children of intermarried parents).
This study examines the reactions of a diverse group of Jewish young adults (applicants to Taglit-Birthright Israel) to the 2014 conflict in Gaza. The report compares their responses to the opinions of young adults in the United States.