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Raising Jewish Children: Research and Indications for Intervention

In light of our analysis of the quantitative and qualitative research on Jewish education and Jewish identity formation, our conversations with key figures in the field of Jewish education, and the theoretical literature we have reviewed, we suggest the following policy directions.

  • Each Jewish educational program should aim to include a social networking component as part of its Jewish educational strategy. For example, early childhood programming should include programs for joint activities and networking among families. High school programming could include trips to Israel that create stronger existing and new social networks.
  • Cumulative Jewish educational experiences must be structured into the educational framework and not left to chance. For example, Jewish supplementary schools should sponsor Jewish summer camp experiences or promote youth group attendance.
  • Jewish educational programs delivering high quality Jewish content should become a funding priority, especially beginning with the high school years.
  • Jewish educational programs that can be enjoyed by a mixed social network should be expanded, especially for college and young adult populations.
  • Jewish education for emerging adult populations should be conceived as necessarily including support for Jewish cultural expressions.
  • A primary goal of formal and informal Jewish education should be the revival of Jewish social capital for Jewishly “impoverished” families through the establishment of new Jewish social circles.  Priority should be given to programs that offer high quality intellectual content or experiences, such as Jewish Studies courses in universities or Birthright trips in Israel, in a neutral and non-threatening environment.
  • Funds should be allocated for further targeted research on Jewish education to close the critical gaps in knowledge listed in point 7 above.