Experiences that blend Jewish learning with the outdoors, food, and environment are attracting a growing number of diverse Jews to meaningful and inspiring Jewish life, reports the first-ever national survey on Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) – Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE).
The report, released today by a group of six major funders and Hazon, examines the history, programs, professionals, and participants that comprise JOFEE experiences. Leaders of JOFEE are eager to share the key findings and continue a conversation about its potential for growth and for Jewish engagement. […]
Key findings of the study include:
- More than 2,400 people participated in immersive JOFEE experiences in 2012. JOFEE has also had a more extensive reach through additional non-immersive and local experiences.
- Immersive JOFEE participants are of all ages and backgrounds, but the greatest representation was among 18 to 39-year olds.
- Patterns in immersive JOFEE participation (episodic and recurring) reflect the patterns and culture of how today’s youth, young adults and Jews engage with community and one another.
- JOFEE experiences are having a positive influence on participants’ Jewish attitudes and behaviors and are inspiring them to make outdoor, food, and/or environmental-related changes in their life, work and community.
- The more and longer immersive JOFEE experiences participants have, the more they are affected, both in their Jewish lives and in their connection to the outdoors, food and environmental issues.
“The study results significantly align with our learnings from a series of focus groups conducted in the North Coastal region of San Diego,” says Charlene Seidle, executive vice-president of the Leichtag Foundation.” People care about their health, the environment and social justice as well as non-traditional and meaningful ways to connect with other Jews and the community. This year our foundation has launched the Jewish Food Justice Fellowship which is a next step in the professional development for alumni of other JOFEE programs, and as we embark upon the development of Southern California’s first Jewish Community Farm, this report and its findings will be extremely valuable.”