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Date: 2018
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: 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): Kasstan, Ben
Date: 2012
Abstract: This is the first study to explore the ways in which Jewish identities and identifications with Israel are fostered
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.
Date: 2011