Birthright participants in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: EREZ OZIR)
Growing up comes with many pressures that are different from those of 20 years ago, what with our world being permeated by social media and constant communication. This begs the question that the Jewish Education Project tried to answer: How does that affect American Jewish teens?
In the “GenZ Now” report – the largest study of its kind – the project surveyed over 17,000 Jewish-American teens to “reveal data and insights about their interests, challenges and passions in all facets of life.”
Researchers found that Jewish adolescents believe they need help with social-emotional issues, coping with anxiety, academic pressure, self-esteem issues and failure – mentioned as the biggest needs of Jewish teens and their peers.
Family was found to be a key component of Jewish life, with Jewish teens liking their parents and valuing their perspectives, the findings revealed.
The teens believe that there are positives and negatives to social media. While acknowledging that social media can cause them stress, they also believe it helps cope with that stress by connecting with friends and organizing for change.
Those who took part were also surveyed about religion. A majority said they unequivocally identify as Jewish, while a sizable minority said they had no religion.
The data also explored antisemitism and Israel.
Responders said that while they may have encountered an antisemitic experience, they don’t feel threatened – and it does not affect their perspective on the world.
Teens also said they are “interested in Israel and believe that, as Jews, they have a special connection to the land and country.”The GenZ Now: Jewish Teens Research Study will be released in full in New York on Tuesday.