Generation Now: Understanding and Engaging Jewish Teens Today

by David Bryfman

Apr 11, 2016
This report is the result of new research in Jewish teen education and engagement. Funders in the Teen Collaborative identified a need to define shared outcomes in order to pursue their common goals and to effectively aggregate and compare evaluation findings. While this research was intended only to lead to the development of outcomes in this space, it yielded insights that can guide and inform Jewish teen education and engagement more broadly, and can be used by those in the Collaborative as well as others. The Jewish Education Project is excited to unveil these insights about Jewish teens -- from their interests, to their fears, to what brings them meaning in life -- along with shared outcomes, indicators, and measurement tools that will gauge Jewish education and engagement among teens participating in Jewish experiences. Throughout this report, we have included the voices of teens, in their own words, to help us get a better glimpse inside the minds of this population. The direct result of this multi-pronged research project is the 14 new outcomes to measure the impact of Jewish teen education and engagement. Effective programs will exhibit the following outcomes:
  • Jewish teens have a strong sense of self.
  • Jewish teens feel a sense of pride about being Jewish.
  • Jewish teens have learning experiences that are both challenging and valuable.
  • Jewish teens engage in learning that enables them to be more active participants in various Jewish communities.
  • Jewish teens learn about and positively experience Jewish holidays and Shabbat.
  • Jewish teens establish strong friendships.
  • Jewish teens develop strong and healthy relationships with their families.
  • Jewish teens develop significant relationships with mentors, role models, and educators.
  • Jewish teens are able to express their values and ethics in relation to Jewish principles and wisdom.
  • Jewish teens develop the capacity (skills and language) that allows them to grapple with and express their spiritual journeys.
  • Jewish teens feel connected to various communities.
  • Jewish teens develop the desire and commitment to be part of the Jewish people now and in the future.
  • Jewish teens develop a positive relationship to the land, people, and state of Israel.
  • Jewish teens are inspired and empowered to make a positive difference in the various communities and world in which they live.
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