This study is conducting an in-depth and sustained exploration of the changing Jewish lives of young people and their families. Our data is collected from students in 7 Jewish schools and from students in non-Jewish schools.
We compared data collected before attending the post GCSE Israel Tour with information obtained during Year 13. All the Jewish schools in our sample apart from one offer a Year 9 Israel Trip, which is a two to three week educational tour of the country, taking place towards the end of the summer term. 73% percent of the student sample went on their Year 9 Israel trip. In addition, one of our schools offers a Year 9 extended
Israel programme for 10 weeks, which typically attracts 10–20% of the eligible cohort.
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.
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.
Experience on a young person’s
Jewish identity and relationship
• For the overwhelming majority of
respondents, Israel Tour is an extremely
• Over 80% of respondents state that their
youth movement experiences have had
a positive degree of importance in shaping
their Jewish lives.
• Israel Tour has had a stronger impact on
participants than previous family trips.
• As a direct result of going on Tour, the
majority of respondents stated that they
would be more likely to engage in activities
and life choices which further develop
their Jewish identity and their relationship
• Almost 60% of respondents have returned
to Israel at least once since Israel Tour.
in and articulated by forty British Jews participating in Taglit-Birthright, which is a free ten day tour of Israel.
Birthright is an institutionalised programme for young Jews from fifty-two countries around the world, which
proclaims the primordial link of the Jewish people and the land of Israel through two means; education and
experience. Birthright sits at the forefront of the current debate concerning British Jewry, and what it means
to be Jewish in the twenty-first century, as the programme admits an array of participants who fall beyond the
traditional ‘boundaries’ of Judaism in order to discover and create their own Jewish identities. This paper
serves as an interesting comparison to the American accounts that currently dominate the anthropological
discourse of Birthright, by contextualising the aspects of the tour which affected British participants most. It
will illustrate that the documents proving Jewish heritage, requested by Birthright organisers in the United
Kingdom but not in America, is indicative of the key difference between the two cohorts which harnesses
British participants from feeling Jewish. The work then focuses on the tochnit (‘schedule’), which enabled
participants to negotiate their Jewish identities by picking and choosing aspects of Judaism and Israel that
they could personally identify with. It then argues that Jewish rather than Israeli identifications were more
widely expressed amongst participants. Overall results demonstrate that ethnic Jewish identities, which
gravitate less around religiosity, became increasingly favourable amongst this sample of British Jewry. This
infers that Jewishness should be measured across a spectrum that encompasses the multifaceted nature of
Judaism in the twenty-first century.
Hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) and their children currently live in North America. The Jewish identity of the young adults in this group is a source of broad concern in the Jewish community. Taglit-Birthright Israel (Taglit), which provides 10-day educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26, is one program that has successfully engaged Jewish young adults with roots in the FSU. Drawing on draws on data collected in a set of surveys conducted approximately three months before and after the Taglit trips in summer ’07, winter ’07-’08, and summer ’08, as well as focus groups and in-depth interviews, this report paints a comprehensive portrait of Russian-speaking Taglit participants.
This report examines the sociodemographic characteristics, backgrounds and current Jewish and Russian identities and engagement of Taglit participants with roots in the FSU. It then examines their Taglit experience and the impact of the trip. Finally, the report explores potential avenues to engage this group’s unique Russian-Jewish cultural and linguistic heritage and draw them into American Jewish life.
sample of 258 Aish Fellowships alumni from a total database of 1,334
who attended the programme between 1993-2001.
The average time lapse between the survey and Fellowships participation for those questioned
was 3.1 years.
Professor Robert Worcester, Chairman of MORI, commented "These results from the MORI
research among those who have been involved indicate that the Aish Fellowships provide a
potent tool for effecting continuity in the Jewish community."
Participation in trips to Israel is higher than in nearly every country in the world.
Commitment is deep and strong, and Jewish educational and communal
leadership in general are intelligent, nuanced, and realistic. The UJIA is an
established central body that now defines Israel education as its primary
mandate, and other organisations such as the New Israel Fund, The Jewish
Agency for Israel, Yachad, Zionist Federation to name but a few have Israel at
The challenge for Israel Education in the UK is to bring the quality of its vision, reach, and
programming up to the level of those who lead, plan and fund them.