Birthright Reshuffles Follow-Up Effort

After Disappointing Results, Alumni Shunted to Other Groups

What’s Next?: Birthright alumni where were served by the organization Birthright NEXT will now be redirected to other existing Jewish organizations.
Birthright Israel
What’s Next?: Birthright alumni where were served by the organization Birthright NEXT will now be redirected to other existing Jewish organizations.

By Seth Berkman

Published November 06, 2012, issue of November 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Birthright Israel NEXT is ceding its follow-up role in connecting young Jews to their Jewish identity after the free trips they take to Israel via the Taglit Birthright Israel program.

The 4-year old program is replacing its staff in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and other cities where there are large concentrations of Birthright alumni, for whom NEXT, until recently, directly created and hosted activities. Instead, NEXT has hired regional directors who are directing alums to already established organizations. These include Jewish federations, Hillels and synagogues that host religious and social events on a regular basis.

“As the number of Birthrighters increases almost exponentially each year, the notion that one organization can provide sufficient outreach and opportunity to such a diverse audience was called into question,” said Morlie Levin, CEO of Birthright NEXT. She described NEXT’s new role “as a catalyst and concierge basically.”

The reduced role, which began in January, is designed to end two years of uncertainty surrounding the program, Levin said. Her own hiring as NEXT’s CEO in 2010 followed a March 2009 report that found that 44% of Birthright alumni no longer in college did not attend any Jewish program after their Birthright trip. The study, by Leonard Saxe of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, found that 39% reported attending just one or two programs. Only 4% of Birthright alumni took part in more than five follow-up programs.

The disappointing findings appeared to have swift consequences. Following the 2009 study, Birthright’s financial support for the separately incorporated NEXT dropped to $968,000 in 2010 from its peak of $6.5 million the year before. NEXT’s total revenues from all sources in 2010 came to about $4 million, down from $8 million the previous year.

In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, Birthright allocated just $702,000 to the group.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.