The Making of a Jewish American Identity: A Quantitative Analysis of Jewish Value Fostering Within Jewish Sleepaway Camps
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This study quantitatively investigates the relationship between attending Jewish sleep away camp and present levels of Jewish values within respondents’ lives. While the effects and ramifications of attending Jewish summer camp have been written about at length, after exhaustively searching through previous research we were unable to find anything outside of the qualitative domain. Because Jewish summer camp is considered to be one of the most valuable tools employed to inculcate Jewish values in Jewish youth, we felt that a quantitative assessment of these claims would be a logical next step in progressing the field forward. Our two hypotheses were that spending more years at camp would correlate with higher present levels of Jewish values, and that reaching a higher rank within camp’s hierarchy (i.e. camper, counselor, unit head) would also positively correlate with these present values. Support was found only for the association of rank and Jewish values for individuals who did not have a Jewish day school education. These results suggest that when individuals did not spend the majority of their K-12 schooling in formal Jewish educational institutions, having a more involved role in the camping experience may promote the enhancement of a Jewish identity.
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