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Taglit-Birthright Israel, a program that sends Jewish young adults on free 10-day trips to Israel, has begun expanding efforts to keep participants involved in Judaism long-term, both religiously and culturally. The alumni program, called Birthright NEXT, will expand from seven to 15 cities, and will now be headed by Morlie Levin (formerly of Hadassah) and other new leaders.

I’ve written several stories about Birthright, most recently a feature about couples who have met on these trips, and several friends have participated in the program, with mixed results. The program hasn’t been around long enough to conclude if it’s going to produce the kinds of long-term results investors want to see, ranging from a strong generation of Jewish community leaders to a reduction of interfaith marriage rates, but it does seem to have made progress in the past 10 years. It’ll be interesting to see how this alumni program expansion and new leadership will impact those efforts.

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