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The Birthright Israel Program: Present and Possible Future Impacts

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Publication Date: February 2009

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Leonard Saxe; Manfred Gerstenfeld

Series: Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, No. 41 (February 15, 2009)

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

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

Keywords: Israel Attachment; Israel Experience; Philanthropy; Jewish Continuity

Type: Other

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

In this interview Leonard Saxe, coauthor of Ten Days of Birthright Israel: A Journey in Young Adult Identity, examines the major aspects of Birthright Israel. Topics include participation per cohort, characteristics of the program, funding, its focus on personal relationships, and the effects of the program on participants after their return from Israel. The author explains that the aim of Birthright Israel is to make the participants' Jewish identity more relevant to them, to enhance love of Israel, and to promote a sense of Jewish peoplehood. He concludes that although the economic downturn of 2009 will likely result in fewer participants and longer wait-lists than in 2008, the program seems assured of providing an Israel-education experience for twenty-five thousand or more Diaspora young adults each year.