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September 25, 2016 6:08 am

New Study of Chabad on Campus Shows Long-Term Impact on Students

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The Chabad house at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Photo: Ari Abitbol via Wikimedia Commons.

The Chabad house at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Photo: Ari Abitbol via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – A newly released, first-of-its kind report studying the Chabad-Lubavitch movement’s impact at universities found that emissaries on college campuses have a significant, long-term impact on Jewish students, especially on those who do not come from Orthodox backgrounds.

“The Hertog Study — Chabad on Campus” found that students raised in the Reform tradition report the greatest increase — a 113 percent jump — in their Jewish engagement through affiliation with their college Chabad house, followed closely by students of no denomination. Conservative students involved with the local Chabad emissary were 63 percent more active in Jewish life than individuals of similar background who had no engagement with the organization.

The research, which took 3 years to conduct and analyze, was commissioned and funded by the Hertog Foundation in New York and involved interviewing more than 2,400 alumni under the age of 30 from some 22 campus Chabad centers.

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Lead author Mark Rosen, associate professor and director of field-experience programs at Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, said, “It’s counterintuitive that they [Reform or unaffiliated students] would show up at all…The impact is across the board.”

Chabad participants come from a variety of backgrounds, but an overwhelming majority of 88 percent do not hail from Orthodox homes.

Rosen added that, “we’re seeing here is that you don’t have to be assimilated to reach other assimilated Jews. In fact, Chabad shows that it’s actually better to be engaged and Jewishly learned to succeed.”

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