Since 1998, NCSY has taken Jewish teenagers from the United States and Canada on heavily subsidized educational trips to Israel under the rubric of The Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ). In recent years, TJJ has experienced increased participation — and investment — such that NCSY and OU leadership commissioned research executed by Prof. Steven M. Cohen and Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz, centering on a survey of past TJJ participants.
Can you measure the success of a summer program? We think so. Here are 10 things we learned from the survey:
- 23% of TJJ alumni made Aliyah or are considering it.
- 92% identify as being emotionally attached to Israel
- 93% attend high holiday services
- 88% fast on Yom Kippur
- 73% usually attend shabbat meals
- 94% attend a Passover seder
- 95% say that marrying a Jew is important to them
- 86% believe that it’s very important to raise kids as Jewish
- 61% participate in Jewish learning once a week
- 54% attend prayer services at least once a month
Compared to other Israel trips for unaffiliated teens and young adults, TJJ scored significantly higher percentages of connection to Israel and Jewish engagement. Ongoing contact with advisors whom TJJ participants developed relationships with, seems to have a direct correlation to increased Jewish involvement.
Based on a 2014 study of the long-term impact of TJJ by Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew Union College. To read the full report, visit https://www.ou.org/tjj-jerusalem-journey-report/