Birthright Israel Research
Since Birthright Israel's inception in 1999, CMJS has been conducting rigorous research to evaluate the program and learn about its impact on Jewish young adults. CMJS’s research program on Birthright Israel includes evaluation studies that track Birthright’s short- and long-term impact on its participants using a quasi-experimental research design that compares participants to similar young adults who applied to the program and did not go. The program of research also includes the Jewish Futures Project that is following a panel of several thousand individuals who applied to go on Birthright between 2001 and 2009.
The study of Birthright Israel has focused primarily on North American participants, but several studies have been conducted of participants in other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Germany.
CMJS research about Birthright Israel has been published in reports, books and journal articles.
About Birthright Israel: Established by a group of Jewish philanthropists, in collaboration with the Israeli government and Jewish communities around the world, Birthright Israel aims to encourage Jewish continuity, foster engagement with Israel, and forge a new relationship among Jews around the world. Since its inception in 1999, over 750,000 young Jewish adults from more than 50 countries participated in the program’s free, 10-day educational tours of Israel.
The Jewish Futures Project (JFP) has been following multiple cohorts of Birthright participants, and others who applied to the program but did not go, for over a decade. In the sixth wave of the JFP study, we explore whether Birthright’s long-documented impact on connection to Israel and engagement in Jewish life persists, as participants grow older, and the trip recedes further in their memory.
Birthright Israel trips have emerged as the normative “coming-of-age” experience for contemporary Jewish young adults. Birthright Israel has made a commitment to making its ten-day educational experiences accessible for young adults with a variety of specialized needs stemming from life-threatening or chronic illnesses, physical and sensory impairments, and cognitive and developmental disabilities
By 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.
This report assesses Birthright’s effectiveness in providing a balanced educational program to participants from diverse backgrounds. The report examines Birthright’s impact on the summer 2017 cohort’s feelings of connection to Israel, engagement with Israel, and views regarding particular Israeli policies and investigates whether the program’s impact was different for political liberals versus conservatives.
This study focuses on two groups of Birthright Israel participants: first, those from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus and second, Russian-speaking Jews (RSJ) in Germany. It is part of a larger program of research designed to understand the impact of Birthright Israel (known in the FSU and Germany as Taglit) on its participants. The study draws on pre- and post-trip surveys of the summer 2017 cohort from these countries, as well as on a long-term survey of participants from Russia and Ukraine who participated in the program during 2010-14.