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Learning From Ethnography: Reflections on the nature and efficacy of youth tours to Israel

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Publication Date: January 2002

Publisher(s): Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies; Studio Kavgraph

Author(s): Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Education (Study abroad)

Keywords: Jewish Identification; Ethnography; Youth Engagement; Israel Experience

Type: Book chapter

Coverage: United States Israel


Ten thousand American Jewish teenagers in hundreds of organized programs have been descending on Israel during the summer months. What is the nature of their experience and what is its impact? These are the questions that guide the studies in this volume.

The author analyzes the two case studies produced by Harvey Goldberg and Samuel Heilman, who followed two groups of 15-16 years old around Israel during the summer of 1994. Both used the ethnographer's toolkit - living with the group, participant observation, detailed field notes, interviews and short surveys – to produce their fascinating case studies. She looks at the broader issues arising from these studies, reflecting on the nature and efficacy of youth tours to Israel.

In The Israel Experience: studies in youth travel and Jewish identity, by Harvey Goldberg, Samuel Heilman, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (Jerusalem: Studio Kavgraph, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, 2002), 267-331.