Study: Birthright Does What It’s Supposed To
Which doesn’t help the unlucky few who don’t get on trips
A new study finds that American Jews who go on free Taglit-Birthright organized trips to Israel change in ways that Taglit-Birthright’s donors almost certainly want them to: They are more supportive of Israel, feel a stronger connection to Israel, and—most importantly?—are a full 51 percent more likely to marry a fellow Jew. (Probably because they met them on their Birthright trip. I kid! Sorta.) Moreover, they are 35 percent more likely to consider marrying a Jew important, and any non-Jews they choose to marry are four times more likely to convert.
Robert Aronson, Birthright’s president, noted that the data included comparisons between Birthright-ers and people who applied for Birthright but could not go, frequently due to a lack of space on the trips; the report, he said, indicates the extent to which “the lives of those who were turned away from the trips would have been changed.”
In other words, the study proves that, if, hypothetically, there were a 26-year-old American Jew—in his final year of eligibility—who applied for a trip, say, this summer, it would be especially important to find a spot for him. One might argue that if this 26-year-old American Jew were a person who had a larger-than-normal platform from which to expound on issues of Jewish concern—if he were, for example, a blogger at a daily magazine of Jewish life and culture—then it would be that much more important to put him on a trip, and that much weirder if he had applied for a trip in his final year of eligibility and had just been told (like an hour ago) that as of now he has not been placed on one. You know, hypothetically.