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Author(s): Kahn-Harris, Keith
Date: 2018
Abstract: The Limmud Impact Study looks at how successful Limmud has been in taking people ‘one step further on their Jewish journeys’, what these journeys consist of and their wider impact on Jewish communities.

The study focuses on Limmud volunteers and draws on a survey of ten Limmud volunteer communities in eight countries - UK, USA, South Africa, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Israel and Argentina - together with focus groups conducted with Limmud volunteers from around the world.

The findings provide clear evidence that Limmud advances the majority of its volunteers on their Jewish journeys, and for a significant proportion it takes them ‘further’ towards greater interest in and commitment to Jewish life.

Limmud’s principle impact on its volunteers lies in making new friends and contacts, encountering different kinds of Jews and enhancing a sense of connection to the Jewish people. For many Limmud volunteers, their experience has increased their Jewish
knowledge, their leadership skills and their involvement in the wider Jewish community. Involvement in Limmud therefore enhances both the desire to take further steps on their Jewish journeys, and the tools for doing so.

Limmud impacts equally on Jews regardless of denominationand religious practice. The younger the volunteers and the less committed they are when they begin their Limmud journeys, the further Limmud takes them. Those with more senior levels of involvement in Limmud report higher levels of impact on their Jewish journeys than other volunteers, as do those who had received a subsidy or training from Limmud.

Limmud volunteers often have difficult experiences and risk burnout and
exhaustion. While volunteers generally view the gains as worth the cost, Limmud
needs to pay attention to this issue and provide further support.
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: 2010
Abstract: The Big Society, in its essence, is about communities providing services to the public out of a sense of
communal belonging and public duty, rather than Government providing services to everyone centrally. 

The Big Society is made up of the combination and integration of small communities doing good things.
It is about small-scale diversity, understanding that different communities have different priorities. This
understanding of difference is at the heart of the idea of the Big Society, replacing a one-size-fits-all view
imposed by central Government. Different communities may have different ideas about crime, reflected
through an elected Police Commissioner. They may have different ideas about planning, given voice
through a neighbourhood-based planning system. They may have different ideas about the priorities of
their Local Authorities, more able to be enacted through the new Power of Competence, and they might
have different ideas about their schools, reflected through the Free Schools policy. 

But there’s more than one sort of community. It is easy to narrowly imagine a community as essentially
geographical, and to see communities as identical with neighbourhoods. Ideally, neighbourhoods should
all be communities, but there are other sorts of communities too: communities of shared interests, shared
faith, shared culture and history.
 
People give time and money to their own communities out of a sense of identification and simple 
self-interest, ensuring that their communities provide the sorts of services and voluntary organisations
that they want. For the Big Society to succeed, it has to harness all of these communities, together with
the energy and resources they contain, and to find a way to use people’s and communities’ self-interest
constructively, to provide the widest benefit possible for society as a wh
ole. 
Of course, communities aren’t mutually exclusive. This idea belongs to the naïve multiculturalism typical
of the 1980s, which assumed everyone can be neatly put into only one box. In reality, people may have
several senses of belonging, several connected identities, and can be active in several different
communities.

This applies to British Jews as much as anyone else. This paper is specifically about British Jews as
members of the Jewish community. Of course, all British Jews are also a part of their local
neighbourhoods and other communities of interest or values, but this paper focuses on the Jewish
community.

It aims to show the sorts of social capital that the Jewish community generates in all areas of life and to
give some practical examples of how the vision of the Big Society can be realised. It will also note some
potential stumbling blocks to our community – and other communities of all types – in building the Big
Society for everyone.