Engaging Jewish Teens: New Study of New York Teens, Parents and Practitioners

In collaboration with  The Experiments in Teen Engagement Task Force of UJA-Federation of New York, The Jewish Education Project commissioned The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University to carry out research to inform planning the task force.  Funded by UJA-Federation of New York, Engaging Jewish Teens describes Jewish teens, their everyday reality, and the factors that contribute to or detract from their engagement in Jewish life.

The study employed multiple surveys in order to view Jewish teens and their relationship to Jewish life from three perspectives: that of the teens, their parents, and communal professionals involved in the work of teen engagement. The results of the current research make clear that programs designed to increase teen participation in Jewish life and activities compete with teens' absorption in academics and college preparation, their lack of “free” time, and their commitment to their friends. They will have to stimulate interest among those who do not place Jewish life high on their list of priorities. They can build on the positive feelings that teens have about being Jewish (the pride, the family celebrations), but they will also have to circumvent the negative feelings that some hold. They will need to impress teens from across the spectrum, from the relative “elites” in our study to those who are less engaged, more marginal to the Jewish community. The report concludes with suggested steps intended to facilitate planning in these specific areas.

Read the report.

Read the executive summary.