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Author(s): Miller, Helena
Date: 2014
Abstract: This summer has been a challenging and exceptional one for Israel Tour madrichim, who have run Tour during a period of ferocious hostilities between Israel and Gaza, which have impacted on both the itineraries and the day to day running of their groups. They have had to deal with sirens, taking their groups into shelters, hearing explosions afar and nearby, the political situation and last minute changes to itineraries caused by the security situation. This of course, has been in addition to the regular stresses and challenges of being responsible for a group of 35-40 sixteen year olds for three and a half weeks in Israel.

Remarkably, the chanichim have almost without exception had a fantastic time. UJIA felt, however, that it would be the responsible way forward to follow up with all madrichim on their return, to do the following:

a) To thank the madrichim
b) To acknowledge concern for the welfare for the madrichim
c) To see if there are any particular chanichim requiring follow up
d) To find out the extent to which Tour Providers/YMs/UJIA/taglit/other agencies and individuals were supportive to them and their chanichim before and during the time in Israel
e) To find out if the madrichim would like/need additional support/counselling etc now that they are home.
f) To find out whether the madrichim have any advice for UJIA regarding our handling of the situation, handling of the madrichim and YMs, and could this be improved upon for the future.
In addition, we agreed that a letter of appreciation and thanks would be emailed to all madrichim just prior to return. In the email, they were told that a named person (usually their UJIA contact) would ‘phone them within a couple of days of their return to debrief and check how they are.
Date: 2009
Abstract: Key issues and findings are as follows:

1. 30% of Jewish 18 year olds take a Gap Year after finishing school.

2. 17% of Jewish 18 year olds currently choose an Israel Gap Year.

3. That percentage is decreasing.

4. The cost of the Israel Gap Year has risen from £7,000 - £11,000 in three years.

5. That cost is within proportion of some non-Israel Gap Year programmes. It is higher than others.

6. For many families, the cost of Israel Gap Year is prohibitive. The finances of the Israel Gap Year must be reviewed. This must include issues related to length, structure and content of the year, bursaries, saving schemes, raising funds etc.

7. The variable quality of the Machon and the price of the Machon is making it a challenging component of the programme.

8. The volunteering programme must address the issues stated in the UJIA Review of Volunteering paper (2008)

9. Better marketing will lead to higher recruitment. Marketing of the UJIA Israel Gap Year needs to be as sophisticated as marketing for non-Israel Gap Years

10. Follow through of chanichim after Israel Tour must be better addressed by the Youth Movements in the UK.

11. The possibility of developing shorter options (5-6 months) must be explored seriously.

12. The option of making the programme modular – 3 month modules that participants can pick and choose from and opt in and out of – must be explored.

13. UJIA and the Youth Movements must explore the possibility of better integration between the sections of the Gap Year.

14. UJIA and the Youth Movements should explore the desirability and possibility of including a three month component overseas, possibly volunteering in Europe or in a developing country.

15. The staffing of the Israel Experience team should be reviewed to ensure adequate cover both in the UK and in Israel, particularly at present when staff cuts and turnover of staff is acute.

16. The impact of the Gap Year on its participants is one of its unique selling points and should not be under-estimated. It should be integrated into the marketing strategy.
Date: 2015
Abstract: Three previous research projects undertaken by the Research and Evaluation Department of UJIA between 2012 and 2014 have been re-analysed to extract anything relevant to identify the Jewish journey taken by key individuals within the Jewish community.

Gap year research data indicates that almost 40% of respondents who have been on a Gap year or Yeshiva/Seminary in Israel identify themselves as Modern Orthodox and almost 60% had also attended a Jewish school.

49% respondents stated they chose their Gap year organisation because they had previously been on Israel Tour with them and 65% regularly participated in their activities.

From those Gap year graduates amongst the Youth Commission respondents, more than 65% said they were currently involved with a Youth organisation. This is reinforced by nearly 60% of respondents to the Israel Experience survey who had also been on a Gap year stating they had attended a JSoc and a similar percentage were still part of their youth movement. 30% stated they had been fundraising for Israel or had donated to UJIA.

Most of the Gap year respondents felt that going on their Gap year had a positive influence on the likelihood to engage with the Jewish community in the future.

The respondents to the Israel Experience Survey (2012) who had also been on a Gap year, mostly thought their Gap year had been extremely important in shaping their Jewish life, even more so than their family or youth movement.

The Gap year research suggested that almost 70% of respondents, who had previously been on a Gap year, felt that the whole experience had positively affected their likelihood to make Aliyah.

16 individual stories from these previous research studies have been used to highlight some of the Jewish journeys completed by some of our leaders since their time on Gap year.
Author(s): Miller, Helena
Date: 2010
Abstract: Whilst the focus for the community in the last twenty years has been on putting enormous resources into developing the day school system in the UK, the result has been that the supplementary system has lagged behind in every sense. One reason for this deficiency of resourcing is that the community has been focusing their attention on the goal of having almost all Jewish children in Jewish day schools by 2020. A consultative research project has taken place to determine recommendations to take to the UJIA to invest in a strategy which addresses the needs of those children who attend supplementary Jewish schools and not Jewish day schools, as the locus for their Jewish education. Stage One was comprised of desk research to determine the history, demography, and quantitative data related to the field of supplementary Jewish schooling in the UK. Stage Two involved interviews with professionals and lay leaders throughout the different denominational sectors (Liberal, Reform, Masorti, and Orthodox). 14 individual semi-structured interviews were conducted over a four week period. Stage Three put theory and research into practice. A series of group meetings attended by key professionals and stakeholders working in central agencies and synagogues in supplementary education across the community took place. The purpose of these meetings was to work towards recommendations for a strategy to re-energize the cheder system. At present, one year later, such a strategy is already in place to address the outcomes of the research. 
Date: 2014