The New York Jewish Week
With Birthright coming up on its 10th anniversary and the milestone of 200,000 participants crossed just last month, many observers say the trip might just be the most important Jewish educational experience in existence today.
But once the planes land back in Chicago, London, Buenos Aires or New York and people return to college campuses or work, what’s next? It is a question Birthright Israel as an organization, along with educators and leaders throughout the Jewish community, is asking.
Birthright alumni are perhaps the greatest hope for the continuation of a diaspora Jewish life, but following up with them is a work in progress, an exercise in trial-and-error producing various creative, interesting opportunities for long-term engagement that may or may not ultimately work.
One of the people working closely with alumni is Rabbi Daniel Brenner, executive director of Birthright Israel NEXT, Birthright’s alumni organization. Rabbi Brenner’s own Judaic knowledge runs deep, but he approaches the young adults he works with and their Jewish engagement in a laid-back, come-as-you-are manner.