Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Birthright's Impact on Five Jewish Identity Groups: Findings from the Summer 2018 Cohort

Graham Wright, Shahar Hecht, and Leonard Saxe

August 2019

Birthright identity groups report coverBy examining response patterns to questions about Jewish attitudes, the study identified five different types of Jewish identity among the young adults who applied to go on a Birthright trip in summer 2018: Ancestry, Secular Peoplehood, Casual Religious, Connected, and Committed. After sorting applicants into groups corresponding to their Jewish identity type, the study examined the ways in which participants in the different groups were impacted by their Birthright experience. Specifically, the study asked:

What distinguishes different types of Jewish identity? Do participants with different types of Jewish identity vary in their views of the Birthright experience? Does Birthright influence participants with different types of Jewish identity to the same extent or in the same ways? If not, what are the differences?

The report draws on survey data collected from a pair of surveys sent to US and Canadian young adults who applied to go on Birthright Israel trips during summer 2018: A pre-trip survey (N=10,616) conducted in spring 2018 and a post-trip survey (N=4,396) conducted in fall 2018. Both surveys included individuals who participated in the programs and those who did not.