Shaping Jewish Identity

Back on June 3rd, I wrote about a newly released book, Ten Days of Birthright Israel: A Journey in Young Adult Identity. At the time, co-author Professor Len Saxe of Brandeis, sat with me and discussed his hopes and objectives for this project. Saxe stressed that the over-riding goal, though, is to tell the story of Birthright Israel and

why 10 days are important and the impact being created.

Now we have an excellent extract from Issue 7, July 21, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report, Shaping Jewish Identity, with additional insight from the co-authors, Len Saxe and Barry Chazan.

A pair of researchers believe that the Birthright program could revolutionize American Jewish life

Leonard Saxe is convinced that the combination of pedagogy, ideology, dedication and organization that has created Birthright Israel just might change the Jewish world.

Noting that some 150,000 participants have already come to Israel on a Birthright trip, Saxe enthuses, “If Birthright really does become a normative experience for American Jewish youth, like a bar or bat mitzva, it will mean that within a decade or so, more than 50 percent of North American Jews will have visited Israel. Can you imagine?! That’s a seismographic change in the nature of American Jewish life and identity.”

A spin-off of the project has been the compilation of a massive amount of social and educational research data. In fact, with some 150,000 respondents, Saxe tells The Report, it is most probably one of the largest research data sets ever collected for any social or educational experiment anywhere in the world.

You can read the complete extract here.

eJewish Philanthropy has decided to provide a direct link to Amazon (located to the right, at the bottom of the sidebar). We have spoken about new books previously, but this is a first. It is a reflection of the importance we place on bringing the lessons learned to the forefront of discussion and for us all to absorb the impact Birthright Israel is making on the next generation.

eJewish Philanthropy will donate all commissions earned through this link to Birthright Next.