Rose Community Foundation has released a report they commissioned to study Jewish teen participation with out of school activities.

Current Trends: Jewish Teen Participation

Rose Community Foundation has released a report they commissioned to study Jewish teen participation with out of school activities.  The report is a review of existing research (not a new study).

Here are some tidbits:

Jewish teens report the highest rates of any common U.S. religion of both desiring, and lacking quality adult connections with members of their faith. (p. 5)

There appears to be a potentially sizable population of Jewish teens who are interested and willing to participate more fully in Jewish life activities, but have not (for a variety of reasons—some discussed in the report below) been engaged effectively. In some cases, data suggests that there are some who are simply unaware of offerings, or for whom the marketing approach has been ineffective—but the programs themselves may be appealing. (p. 6)

Researchers have consistently documented that a significant percentage of Jewish teens feel frustrated and burned out by formal Jewish education by the time they become Bar or Bat Mitzvah (Ravitch, 2002; Kadushin, Kelner, Saxe, 2000). This burnout leads to a lack of interest in pursuing continued formal Jewish education, with some spillover effects to informal education environments. (p. 17)

One of the implications frequently noted by researchers is the need for substantially improved professional development efforts for adult leaders of both formal and informal Jewish programming. Not surprisingly, youth satisfaction with programming is consistently linked to the quality of the adult leadership. (p. 22)

If the JCC has been shown to be a powerful and significant gateway into increased teen involvement in Jewish life, if JCCs were partnering more closely with other providers of teen services and programming, transitions between activities would likely become more seamless and more common. Rather than protecting organizational territory, as a system, the different organizations might work together to protect the “territory” of this generation of Jewish youth.(p. 31)

The report discusses:

  • Participation Trends in Out-­‐of-­‐School Activities
  • Gender Differences in Religious Participation
  • Participation Rates in Cities of Different Sizes and Demographic Profiles
  • Differences in Participation Rates in Families with Different Levels of Connection to Judaism
  • Motivations in Jewish and Non-­‐Jewish Teens for Participating (or not) in Out-­‐of-­‐ School Programming
  • Parental Influence
  • Characteristics of Effective Informal Programs for Jewish Teens
  • Effective Marketing/Outreach to Jewish Teens

We encourage you to read the full report, particularly if you: have a teen in your household, have teen members of your organization, want to have teen members of your organization, have any involvement with teens, one day will have teen(s) in your household or were a teen once.  We also hope this will stimulate additional discussion in our community. Many thanks to Rose Community Foundation for commissioning, and sharing, this report.

Click here to read the full report: Current Trends in Jewish Teen Participation with Out of School Activities

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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