Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Tourists, Travelers, and Citizens: Jewish Engagement of Young Adults in Four Centers of North American Jewish Life

Fern Chertok, Theodore Sasson, and Leonard Saxe

March 2009

Tourists report coverThis study aims to understand how post-college-age Taglit alumni relate to the programs, activities, and organizations geared toward Jewish young adults and identify strategies for better meeting their needs and aspirations for Jewish involvement. 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.

Authors examine the range of programs geared toward Jewish young adults in each of these cities and describe alumni patterns of engagement. The report then discusses the factors that impede alumni participation in young adult programs, as well as their preferences, desires, and unmet needs for communal involvement. The report concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for successful initiatives that can encourage Taglit alumni and their young adult peers to become Jewish “travelers”—actively exploring what it means for them to be Jewish in a self-directed process of discovery.