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Raising Jewish Children: Research and Indications for Intervention

In terms of predicting adult Jewish connections, statistical studies show that every year past the bar mitzvah year “counts” more than the year before. Receiving formal Jewish education from age 16 to 17 more accurately predicts adult Jewish connectedness than receiving formal Jewish education from age 15 to 16. Quantitative and qualitative research suggest that having mostly Jewish friends in high school is a motivator for continuing formal and informal Jewish education and a predictor for marrying or partnering with a Jew and forging strong Jewish connections. Conversely, when teenagers stopped attending Jewish schools after bar and bat mitzvahs, both they and their parents (in separate interviews) reported that their family Jewish observances and activities such as Shabbat service attendance gradually declined.

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