From Birthright to Renaissance: Our Historic Opportunity

Barry Shrage argues that Birthright trips to Israel are the ‘miracle’ of our generation because they open the door for thousands of young adults (including the most alienated) to connect to their Jewish identities. More work is needed, however, for Birthright to reach its full potential and combat assimilation. Shrage makes the call for the entire community to engage Birthright returnees through a diversity of follow-up programs in order to secure the future of Jewish life.

Barry Shrage is President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP)—greater Boston's Jewish Federation. Under Barry's leadership since 1987, CJP has focused on three priorities: Jewish education and engaging future generations, strengthening our connection to Israel through community-to-community and people-to-people partnerships, and caring for the most vulnerable in greater Boston. He has been instrumental in the creation of several cutting-edge programs including Me'ah, an intensive Jewish adult education curriculum; and Parenting Through a Jewish Lens, a Jewish learning program for parents of young children. Shrange also spearheaded a successful incentive grant program that supports Jewish overnight camp opportunities for children. As one of Israel's most passionate and effective advocates in Boston, Shrange helped establish the Boston-Haifa Connection, a sister city relationship that has resulted in mutually beneficial social programs, and has has worked to send 11,000 Boston-area college students on free trips to Israel through Taglit-Birthright Israel. Shrange holds a BA from City College of New York and MSW from Boston University.

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