Spiritual and religious mentoring: The role of rabbis and teachers as social supporters amongst Jewish modern Orthodox high school graduates spending a year of study in Israel
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For the last several decades, it has become the norm for graduates of modern Orthodox Jewish high schools in the United States and Canada to go to Israel for a year of study. Several studies have noted the significant effects of this year abroad The purpose of this study was to analyze the role that support from rabbis and teachers play in the overall religious development of men and women. The sample consisted of 424 Jewish men and women who after graduating from modern orthodox Jewish high schools spent their freshman year of college abroad in Israel at institutions of higher learning of Jewish texts and tradition. The study's measures included: Jewish Beliefs and Actions (JewBale), Self-Esteem (Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale), Social Support (Social Support Questionnaire), Religious Coping (RCOPE), Family (Family Environment Scale), and the Israel Experience Questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis showed that support from rabbis and teachers predicted high levels of internalization of Jewish actions and beliefs above and beyond the effects of other known correlates. Females reported greater overall emotional engagement with their teachers than males, while males did not show greater intellectual engagement with teachers than females. Students reported greater engagement with teachers as opposed to the non-teaching support staff. Implications of this study highlight the importance of teachers and administrators recognizing the integral role that teacher support has in the religious development of students.