Nesiyah Tovah: American Jewish College Students and the Study Abroad Experience Outside of Israel

By Aaron Pratt

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), April 2007

This study reports on the characteristics of American Jewish college students who choose to study abroad outside of Israel and contrasts them to American Jewish college students who study abroad in Israel. The hypotheses were tested using an online survey administered to American college students from November, 2006 to March, 2007. Students were invited to participate in the study by email. 157 Jewish students and 518 non-Jewish students participated in the study.

This study finds that Jewish students who study abroad in Israel have stronger Jewish identities and stronger adherence to concepts of Jewish "group cohesion" than Jewish students who study abroad outside of Israel. This study also presents a series of recommendations for the Jewish community to use the study abroad experience outside of Israel as a way to encourage the development of strong Jewish identities among American Jewish college students.

This study recommends that American Jewish organizations develop a strategic network with WUJS, campus study abroad offices and Judaic studies departments to create meaningful Jewish experiences for Jewish students during their time abroad. The network should develop a comprehensive "Jewish Study Abroad" website and publicize the URL with campus Hillels and study abroad offices across the country, ensuring that every Jewish college student studying abroad outside of Israel has the opportunity to participate in holiday and other religious observances during their time abroad. The network should provide internships with foreign governments or nonprofit organizations, credit-bearing courses on Jewish history integrated with existing study abroad programs, and a birthright israel trip mixing American Jewish students abroad and their foreign Jewish peers. This thesis reports on original research and makes practical recommendations to increase the Jewish connections of Jewish college students studying abroad outside of Israel.

Topic: College Organizations, Jewish Identification, Israel Experience, Higher Education, University Organizations, Campus Organizations, Students, Community Building

Name of Publication: HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses

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Genre: Thesis

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Aaron Pratt

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Pratt, Aaron. Nesiyah Tovah: American Jewish College Students and the Study Abroad Experience Outside of Israel. HUC-JIR School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (formerly School of Jewish Communal Service) Masters Theses. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). April 2007: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=13350


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