Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Learning from Taglit-Birthright Israel: An Academic Symposium

May 23-24, 2012
Brandeis University

This first-of- its-kind academic conference explored 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 were 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 featured a set of invited presentations and  keynote addresses by leading scholars. 

Co-sponsors: Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, and the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Henrietta Szold Institute; The Melton Centre for Jewish Education, The School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Developmen and the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.

Speakers and Participants