In the News
Mazal tov! The Jerusalem Post, Leonard Saxe, October 31, 2012
The impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel on its alumni six to eleven years after their trip to Israel is examined in this study. The data are derived from the third year of a longitudinal study of Jewish young adults.
This report represents the first long-term study of Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni to document the program's impact on early participants and their decisions and attitudes regarding marriage, community, and connection to Israel.
The report examines Argentinean Jewish young adults’ demographic characteristics and current Jewish identity and practices. The report also focuses on participants’ thoughts about their Taglit experience and explores the trip’s impact on their lives after their return to Argentina. This report is based on data collected in a survey of individuals who applied to Taglit in 2010 from Argentina. Read the report in Spanish.
This report describes Brazilian Jewish young adults’ contemporary lives, including measures of Jewish identity and behavior. The report also focuses on participants’ thoughts about their Taglit experience and explores the trip’s impact on their lives after their return to Brazil. This report is based on data collected in a survey of individuals who applied to Taglit in 2010 from Brazil.
This report focuses on the North American cohort of nearly 60,000 young adults who participated in Birthright Israel trips in summer 2007 and winter 2007-08. Included in the report is a description of applicant characteristics and an analysis of the reactions of program participants to the program at approximately three months post trip.
The present report describes the North American cohort that participated in Birthright Israel trips during winter 2007 (December 2006 through February 2007). Applicant characteristics are described and reactions of participants to the program approximately three months post trip are analyzed. The Jewish attitudes and behaviors of participants and nonparticipants are compared.
This report describes the results of a survey conducted between April – May, 2006, of nearly 3000 birthright israel participants and nearly 1,000 nonparticipant applicants from cohorts in 2002/3, 2003/4 and 2005.
This report summarizes two studies. Study 1 presents the findings of a long-term follow-up of early participants in the program. Data were collected from participants and non-participants both before and after trips that took place during the winters of 1999-2000 through 2001-02. This was followed by a follow-up survey beginning in November 2003 to ascertain the program’s effects after several years. Study 2 assesses the short-term effects of the birthright israel trips held during the winter of 2003-04.
This report assesses the extent to which birthright israel has succeeded in affecting the lives of participants one year after the first set of trips concluded.
The Impact of Birthright Israel
This report looks at participants three months and one year after the first Birthright Israel trips.Making Meaning: Participants' Experience of Birthright Israel
To understand what Taglit participants experienced, a team of ethnographers conducted detailed participant observation of over a dozen diverse Birthright Israel groups. The findings reinforce the results of the surveys and help us understand why the trips seem to have such great impact.
In January 2000, nearly 5000 college students and young adults from Diaspora Jewish communities participated in the launch of Birthright Israel. This report summarizes the findings of a preliminary evaluation of Birthright Israel. Along with the results of a preliminary survey of participants conducted one month post-trip, the present report describes the results of a detailed survey of participants and nonparticipants conducted three months post-trip.
Key to understanding the impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel is whether participants return to Israel. The report summarizes recent data about Canadian and U.S. Taglit participants, both in terms of their patterns of trip extensions, as well as their return trips to Israel.
To assess American Jewish views about Israel, a survey was conducted in June 2010 of more than 1,200 individuals who were identified as Jewish in a large national panel. The survey explores American Jewish attachment to Israel, in particular in the younger generation.
Drawing on survey, focus group, and interview data, the report develops a portrait of Jewish young adult life in four of the largest Jewish communities in North America: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.
Since its inception nine years ago, more than 30,000 Israeli young adults have also experienced Birthright Israel. This report aims to improve understanding of the formal and informal components of the mifgash (encounter), as well as the significance of the experience for North American and Israeli participants.
From Shrine to Forum: Masada and the Politics of Jewish Extremism
Israel Studies, May 2008
Zionist collective memory has long associated Masada with the struggle to secure Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel. This article examines the effects of the political upheavals of the Oslo and post-Oslo periods on the meanings ascribed to Masada and documents the popularity of a critical counter-narrative in tour guides’ presentations of Masada to diaspora Jewish tourists.
Widespread concern exists within the American Jewish community about declining American Jewish attachment to Israel. Concern has been fueled by social scientific analyses which, both conceptually and empirically, suggest declining attachment. The present paper examines these arguments, along with evidence from national surveys conducted over several decades, and critically assesses the emerging narrative about American Jewry’s growing distance from Israel.
Connecting Diaspora Young Adults to Israel: Lessons from Taglit-Birthright Israel
January 2008, Presentation to the 8th Annual Herzliya Conference, Herzliya, Israel
This presentation goes beyond data about the success of Taglit as an educational project and seeks to draw a set of four more complex lessons about the Jewish, Diaspora and Israeli future.
The present report seeks to examine the extent to which program alumni find adequate means to express their heightened interest in Jewish life on their campuses and in their communities. The post trip experience of program alumni was assessed through focus group interviews on campuses and in communities.
Israel’s war against Hezbollah during July and August, 2006, provided a context for assessing the impact of programs bringing Jewish students and young adults to Israel. How did American Jewish young adults who participated in such programs respond during the war and how do they compare to their peers who had not traveled to Israel on a peer-oriented program?
Authentic Sights and Authentic Narratives on Taglit
December 2001, Paper Presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies
Tourism is commonly dismissed as shallow, frivolous and inauthentic. When an Israel experience program known as Taglit sought to use tourism for the purposes of Jewish education, the standard criticisms made of tourism were also applied to it. In spite of this, participants on Taglit generally felt they had an authentic and profound Jewish experience on the program. To explore how this could have happened in the face of expert predictions to the contrary, Kelner adopts a constructivist notion of authenticity.
Narrative Construction of Authenticity in Pilgrimage Touring
August 2001, Paper Presented at the 96th Annual Meetingof the American Sociological Association Anaheim, California