New Research Highlights Effective URJ Youth Engagement Work

Photo courtesy URJ

In advance of this week’s Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Biennial General Assembly, the URJ has released preliminary survey findings showing the impact of Reform Movement Youth Programs on Jewish Identity.

The URJ retained Rosov Consulting to examine the effect of participation in summer camp, youth group, and other Reform Movement youth activities on the Jewish identities of the participants.

Among the key preliminary findings:

  • Alumni are far more likely to care about being Jewish than are the general Reform population (as represented by the Pew survey data). Alumni, regardless of whether they come from interfaith families, are more than twice as likely (81% vs. 37%) to say that identifying as Jewish is “very important” to them.
  • Alumni are three times more likely than non-alumni to say that “being part of a Jewish community” is an essential part of being Jewish.
  • Younger alumni (ages 25-39) place a higher value on “choosing and adapting Jewish rituals” than their older peers.
  • Alumni are more likely to marry Jewish, whether or not they themselves were raised in interfaith families.

The full survey results will confirm the success of the URJ Youth model, which reinforces congregational engagement by connecting local, regional, and national youth programs. Being able to provide complementary and meaningful engagement opportunities across individual communities drives a sense of belonging to greater Jewish community throughout the course of a lifetime.

The full findings are expected to be released in early 2018.

Editors’ note: The preliminary findings listed above, and the paragraph following, were provided by the URJ.