Some 92% of long-term Israel program participants through Masa Israel Journey will raise their children Jewish, compared to 63% of those in short-term ones, according to a new survey.
The Jewish Agency and the State of Israel’s long-term Masa (Journey) programs recently released an in-depth report based on a study by the Impact: NPO research institute in New York, which surveyed 2,433 young Jews from North America between the ages of 20-45, among them Masa alumni. Two-thirds (67%) of Masa alumni regularly participate in Jewish community programs or events, nearly 30 percentage points more than short-term participants (40%) and those who haven’t been to Israel (38%).
In addition, nearly half (45%) of all long-term Masa alumni regularly donate to Jewish-related charities or causes outside of Israel versus 30% of short-term program participants and, ironically, 33% of those who never participated in any Israel program. A third (34%) of Masa alumni regularly donate to Israel-related charities or causes as opposed to 19% of those on short programs and 25% of those who never participated.
Long-term Masa alumni are also more than twice as likely to feel strongly connected to Jews around the world as individuals who have never been to Israel (62% vs. 26%). Two-thirds of long-term Masa alumni regularly participate in Jewish community programs or events, and one in five Masa alumni work for a Jewish organization or educational institution.
Additionally, long-term alumni are far more likely than short-term ones to have returned to Israel since their programs ended. Some 71% of long-termers returned to Israel after their program and 41% returned three or more times or prolonged their stay.
Masa to bring 14,000 young people from the Diaspora to Israel
Marking its 19th year of activities, Masa, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government, will for the first time bring 14,000 young people from the Diaspora to Israel on one of its programs. This is an additional 2,000 young Jews between the ages of 16 and 35 from five different continents around the world who will come to Israel this year. The programs span between a few months to a year, ranging from internships, teaching English, career development programs and academia to community volunteering.
There was also an increase of about 220% in fellows of the "Masa Doctors" program, as over 200 Jewish doctors from Eastern Europe and Latin America will arrive this year for a training program and integration into the Israeli health system. The leading continents and countries from which young people will come to Israel are, in descending order: North America, Russia, Latin America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Ukraine, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and other countries.
In the 19 years since Masa was established, over 190 thousand fellows and alumni from 60 countries have participated in immersive, long-term programs in Israel, experiencing the country as a local. "This demonstrates the tremendous power of new ambassadors that have developed over the years," according to Masa CEO Ofer Gutman. “To understand where Israel-Diaspora relations stand, we set out to explore the impact of long-term, immersive programs in Israel.”
At the opening event of the 19th year of Masa's activity, the organization hosted representatives of the Israeli government, The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, and about 3,500 Masa Fellows and alumni.
"At this time in history where the challenges of our time tend to blind us to our great accomplishments, the greatest of which is the creation of the State of Israel,” Jewish Agency Chairman Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog said at the event, “I see Masa Fellows as being a big part of our ongoing achievement, where we succeed to bring Israel closer to the Jewish people.”