"Four Up": The High School Years, 1995-1999 - The Jewish Identity Development of the B'Nai Mitzvah Class of 5755

Sponsor(s): The Avi Chai Foundation

Principal Investigator(s): Barry A. Kosmin, Ariela Keysar

Key Findings:

"Four Up": The High School Years.  The Jewish Identity Development of the B'nai Mitzvah Class of 5755, by Barry A. Kosmin and Ariella Keysar, summarizes the results of a longitudinal study of approximately 1,000 bar and bat mitzvah graduates from U.S. and Canadian Conservative synagogues which began with the class of 1994-1995 (Hebrew Year 5755).

The link to the report on the BJPA (Berman Jewish Policy Archive) website is on the left -  as is a link to the next followup report, "Eight Years": The College Years.  The Jewish Engagement of Young Adults Raised in Conservative Synagogues, 1995-2003, by Ariela Keysar and Barry A. Kosmin,

"The first section of the report, following a brief description of the research design, presents a social and attitudinal profile of the sample of Conservative Jewish teenagers, drawing mainly on 1999 data. The second section presents a comparison of responses to a battery of questions that were asked both in 1995 and 1999. The third section examines the power of three explanatory models—gender, geography and teenage Jewish socialization—to account for the patterns of identification and engagement of this teen population.".

Study Notes:

The authors' Introduction to the study notes:

"This report presents the highlights of a new survey of Jewish teenagers who celebrated their bar or bat mitzvah in a Conservative synagogue during the mid-1990s. It represents the second phase of longitudinal research designed to monitor the Jewish behavior and attitudes of a cohort of youngsters at different developmental stages in the formation of their religious and ethnic identities.

At the time of the first phase of the study in 1995 the respondents were 13 or 14 years old. They were interviewed during the year following their bar/bat mitzvah, a period of intense religious training and close contacts with the rabbi, the synagogue and Jewish peers.

In the second phase, four years later in 1999, the teenagers were encountering different sorts of identity-building experiences: for instance, a group trip to Israel, which is common after the junior year of high school. Most were entering their senior year in high school, but a minority were about to start college. All were beginning to plan for an independent life away from home and the influence of parents or other family members."
“Four Up” sheds light on religious behaviors and attitudes of Jewish teenagers in North America at the turn of the 21st century....The report is based on a portion of the questions from the two surveys. It focuses on the religious observance and Jewish identity of this large representative sample of an annual cohort of Conservative youth.


Sponsored by the Avai Chai Foundation, "Eight Up" was a research project of the Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism at JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary), Jack Wertheimer, Director.


Language: English


Bookmark and Share