Birthright Israel: A Decade Later

Gary Rosenblatt in The New York Jewish Week:

Birthright Adjusting To New Trip Demographics

Who can measure the impact of such impressions of Israel on the part of thousands of these first-time visitors?

I found myself better appreciating Birthright’s perspective in welcoming any eligible young person who identifies Jewishly, seeing the impact the trip was having on them personally, not the least of which was bonding with a group of Jewish peers. In addition, the ripple effect of young people coming home and telling friends and family, Jewish and non-Jewish, of their positive encounters with Israel – and better understanding its challenges and accomplishments – can only add to a positive awareness in American society.

I have come to believe that for all its flaws, including a “party” atmosphere for some, a decidedly low-key approach to Zionism and Judaism per se, and a lack of in-depth follow-up after the trips, Birthright is the most ambitious, exciting and successful of Jewish educational/identity projects.