Israel gives back

Free Teen Israel Trips Work
September 25, 2009
 
For almost 40 years, the Robert I. Lappin Foundation has provided all the Jewish teens in our area, Massachusetts’ North Shore, a free or partially subsidized trip to Israel. 

Now, we have evidence confirming that this trip helps to keep our children Jewish in two ways: it promotes in-marriage and the raising of children who are Jewish. We urge all funders to study these solutions and provide funding for them. How do we know these solutions work? 

The 2000 National Jewish Population Survey revealed that:· 
 *  83 percent of the teens who traveled to Israel and later married, married Jewish · 
 *  96 percent of in-married and intermarried parents are raising their children 
    Jewish. 

Our own local survey mirrors the national results. We surveyed 174 past participants in our Youth to Israel program and found:  

 *   85 percent of those who married had married Jewish.
 *   95 percent of in-married and intermarried parents are raising children Jewish. 

In 1996, the Foundation started providing a fully subsidized community trip teen trip to Israel. The free trip promotes greater participation. In our community, approximately 60 percent of the identified, eligible teens participate in a teen Israel experience versus less than 10 percent of the national average. By offering a fully subsidized trip, the Foundation focuses on the 70 to 75 percent of teens not enrolled in an intensive Jewish experience such as Jewish camp or day school. 

It is time to stop searching for solutions to assimilation and intermarriage and to fund the initiatives with proven track records. Providing every Jewish teen with this important trip gives them an experience that will keep them Jewish and ultimately lead to them marrying Jewish by instilling a love for and a connection to Israel, and imbuing them with a feeling of belonging to the Jewish family – a great and unique people, whose hallmark is responsibility for each other’s safety and well-being.