He spoke about his movement’s effort to expand their tiny youth programs, which currently serve around 100 students each year.“The focus went first to camp, because the research shows that that’s where you get—and I don’t love this phrase—the biggest bang for your buck.”“The focus went to camp, because the research shows that that’s where you get...C., past trips to Israel, and guilt over skipping religious services earlier that day.And then the conversation turned to dating.“Would you ever marry a non-Jew? Answers varied; one person said she wasn’t sure, while another said she might consider marrying someone who was willing to convert.For many, this means that after quitting youth group, waving goodbye to camp, or flying home from Israel, they still feel an obligation to consider their Judaism as they make the plunge into the dating world.Outside of the built-in networks of youth groups and summer camp, if a Jew wants to date another Jew, she’ll probably try JDate.
But make no mistake: This doesn’t mean they have a laissez-faire attitude about intermarriage.In every denomination, the leaders I talked with are thinking intentionally about how to strengthen the sense of connection among teenaged Jews.“There’s no question that one of the purposes of the organization is to keep Jewish social circles together at this age,” said Matt Grossman, the executive director of the non-denominational organization BBYO, which serves about 39,000 American students each year.“If they’re in an environment where their closest friends are Jewish, the likelihood that they’re going to end up dating people from those social circles, and ultimately marry someone from those social circles, increases dramatically,” Grossman said.Organizations like Hillel, a non-denominational campus outreach organization, have gathered data on the most efficient ways of encouraging these friendships.the biggest bang for your buck.”For the most part, organizations have seen a remarkable “bang.” Rabbi Greenland reported that of the NCSY alumni who married, 98 percent married a Jew.According to a 2011 survey BBYO took of its alumni, 84 percent are married to a Jewish spouse or living with a Jewish partner. One of the most effective incubators of Jewish marriage is Birthright Israel, a non-profit organization that gives grants to organizations to lead 18- to 26-year-old Jews on a free, 10-day trip to Israel.The Jewish History Museum at 564 S Stone Ave., left, is next to the Holocaust History Center, background, which is currently under renovation.The center will have stories of Holocaust survivors and their families along with other programs. Araiza/ Arizona Daily Star The exhibit "Fluid Identities: New Mexican Crypto-Jews in the Late 20th Century" from the New Mexico History Museum includes photos and objects to tell the story of Jews who held on to their faith privately but professed another publicly.“It was astonishing for us to realize that the difference is such a huge difference.”It’s hard to measure the success of any of these programs definitively.There’s certainly some self-selection bias at work.An acquaintance gave a few of us a ride after the annual post-Yom Kippur feast.Stuffed with bagels, lox, kugel, and every kind of pound cake imaginable, the four of us chatted happily about life in D.