Learning from Taglit-Birthright Israel: An Academic Symposium


May 23-24, 2012 Brandeis University

Please be advised conference information is not final. Content on these pages may change.

Taglit-Birthright Israel


This first-of- its-kind academic conference will explore what scholars, practitioners, and policy makers have learned and can learn from Taglit-Birthright Israel, the largest single educational program in the Jewish world today.  Since it was launched in 1999, Taglit has brought nearly 300,000 Diaspora young adults, 18- to 26-years-old, to Israel and involved another 60,000 Israeli peers.  The goals of the conference are to expand the number and variety of scholars and public policy intellectuals engaged in the examination of Taglit, to explore Taglit as a social experiment in educational innovation, and to review and integrate current knowledge on a wide variety of substantive issues including the following:

  • The impact of Taglit on American Jewry and Jewish culture
  • Taglit’s potential contributions to educational and social theory
  • The “mifgash” as an inter-cultural encounter 

The conference will feature a set of invited presentations and  keynote addresses by leading scholars. The emphasis will be on dialogue and deliberation. It is expected that the conference will bring together 30-75 scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from North America and Israel.

The conference will be hosted by the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS), a multidisciplinary social science research institute located at Brandeis University. Within Brandeis, conference co-sponsors include the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, and the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.  Conference co-sponsors also include the Henrietta Szold InstituteThe Melton Centre for Jewish Education, The School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.


Invited conference presenters will be asked to develop formal papers for publication. The papers will be peer-reviewed and published either as on on-line publication or as a special issue of a journal.  


The official conference Twitter hashtag is #TaglitConf and follow @CohenCenter for the latest conference updates.

Please note: Registration is now closed. If you wish to discuss your participation in the conference, please contact Fern Chertok (fchertok@brandeis.edu).