Community Service: The Nexus of Volunteerism, Philanthropy, and Jewish Identity
Publication Date: September 2001
Publisher(s): Jewish Life Network
Author(s): Steven M. Cohen
Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive
Keywords: American Jews; Jewish Youth; Volunteerism
Coverage: United States
Does community service under Jewish sponsorship elevate the "Jewish identity" of young adult American Jews? Evidence bearing upon the answer to this question emerged from a study I recently conducted under the sponsorship of Jewish Life Network. Jewish sponsorship in any way, shape, or form — even in the most subtle and least overt ways inevitably attracts more Jewishly committed people than do programs devoid of any Jewish content or connection whatsoever. Inevitably, their socializing, sweating and saving the world together can only serve to reinforce the positive norms that attracted them to Jewishly sponsored community service in the first place. We can reasonably infer that community service programs under Jewish sponsorship really do strengthen the Jewish and philanthropic muscles of participants, especially, we suspect, if the service is meaningful, regular and enriched by a Jewish educational context.
In Contact: The Journal of Jewish Life Network, v.4:1, August 2001, p.10-11.