Birthright

Can Zionism Be The Answer?

A nuanced form of the Jewish state project can galvanize the community.

06/03/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Students of American Jewry often point to 1967 as a watershed in the evolution of the American Jewish community. The anxiety that American Jews felt in the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War was palpable. There was no evidence that Israel could defend itself against any concerted Arab military assault, no less a multi-front war.

Sid Schwarz

After Birthright, Israel Is My Second Home

When I first heard of Birthright I wanted to go. I had many friends and cousins who had gone, too, and were all so excited after the trip. So finally this winter I was able to go. I wanted to see my history and see where Judaism came from because it is me.

Lindsey Cohen, floating happily on the Dead Sea. Courtesy Jewish Child Care Association

The Jewish Ponytail Seen Around The World

Figure skater Jason Brown is looking for gold in Sochi. And then he wants to go on Birthright.

02/04/2014
Staff Writer
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A rising star at the junior level of American figure skating, Jason Brown, 19, was little known to most sports fans a year ago. “The average Winter Olympics fan couldn’t have picked Brown out of a lineup two weeks ago,” the mashable.com social media website declared at the time. Brown himself gave little thought to qualifying for the U.S. team at the Sochi Games. Maybe he’d go to the Winter Games in 2018, or 2022.

Jason Brown: Has skated to sudden fame. Getty Images

Seven Lessons Of 5773

The old saying about the holidays always coming early or late isn't quite true.

08/27/2013
Editor And Publisher
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On the cusp of a new Jewish year, here are a few things I absorbed during the one drawing to a close:

The old saying about the Jewish holidays always coming early or late isn’t quite true.

Gary Rosenblatt

Mission Impossible?

Teen travel to Israel is languishing. Funders and activists want to double the numbers.

08/06/2013
Editor And Publisher
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Common sense suggests that one of the most effective ways of heightening Jewish identity and Israel engagement among young people is through summer teen trips to the Jewish state. The younger our kids are exposed to the miracles and challenges of Israel today, the better, and longer, their connection. And the more involved they and their families will be. 



Gary Rosenblatt

Wheelchair Basketball Star Heads For Maccabiah Games, Harvard Law

Emily Seelenfreund  was diagnosed at birth with a disease that made her vulnerable to broken bones, and was enrolled in physical therapy at 6 months. By the time she was 5, the Hoboken native was outfitted with a wheelchair that helped her get around and was an active competitor in track and field events for the disabled. By the time she was 11, she began playing wheelchair basketball.

Emily Seelenfreund held a demonstration at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ on July 2. Ron Kaplan

Birthright During Operation Cast Lead

I went on Birthright during the winter of 2009-10: the time of Operation Cast Lead, and amid the elections for Prime Minister.

We saw the beauty of Israel, and enjoyed the fun most students did, but there was still something very different about that trip. My mother was anxious, and upset that I had still decided to go.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres visits the family of a soldier killed during Operation Cast Lead. Getty Images

Birthright’s Effect Still Strong Years After Trip

Latest study, which tracks alums from six to 11 years out, finds impact on life choices and outlook.

11/01/2012
Associate Editor

When, at age 25, Vivian Lehrer decided to go on a Birthright Israel trip before she passed the program’s age limit, she wasn’t expecting much more than a free vacation.

Birthright participants

As Hillel Head Steps Down, Questions Mount For Campus Organization

Firestone leaving amid budget,
fundraising pressures.

09/27/2012

The announcement this week that Wayne Firestone is stepping down as president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life next spring has set off a flurry of speculation as to why the 48-year-old professional would leave the top post he has held since 2006.

Wayne Firestone: His exit seen as sign of the times.

Why Funders Need To Embrace Failure

Opportunity to take risks and learn from them necessary for success, some experts say.

01/03/2012
Editor and Publisher

Before there was Birthright Israel, the most successful Jewish communal effort to increase Jewish identity among young people, there was The Israel Experience, a like-minded effort — and acknowledged failure.

Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Family Philanthropies, recalls that Charles Bronfman announced the launch of The Israel Experience in 1992, amid great fanfare, at the major annual convention of North American Jewish federations.

Gary Rosenblatt
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