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Study: Birthright alumni better Israel advocates, marry Jewish

JTA

March 17, 2011 | 11:35 am

The impact of a Taglit-Birthright experience is significant and lasts for years, according to a new study.


Participants in the 10-day Israel trips are more confident advocates for Israel, are more likely to feel very connected to Israel, and are 51 percent more likely to marry a Jew than their peers who applied for but did not go on a Birthright trip.


These are some of the findings of “The Impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel: 2010 Update,” a recently released study by Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. It is a follow-up to the center’s 2009 report, “Generation Birthright Israel,” and looks at 2,000 young Jews who applied for and/or took part in a Birthright trip between 2001 and 2005.


According to these findings, trip participants were 46 percent more likely to feel “very much” connected to Israel and 28 percent more likely to explain with confidence Israel/Middle East issues. They are 35 percent more likely than non-participants to consider it highly important to raise Jewish children, and if they marry non-Jewish spouses, that spouse is four times more likely to convert to Judaism.


Noting that this study compared trip participants to those who applied but did not ultimately go, usually because there was no room for them, Birthright Israel Foundation President Robert Aronson said the findings demonstrate how greatly “the lives of those who were turned away from the trips would have been changed.”


The research was sponsored by the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Family Foundation, the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center Fund and Taglit-Birthright Israel. The full study is available here.

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