March 10, 2014
This research was designed to describe immersive JOFEE programs, participants, and professionals, as well as what is happening in the lives of individuals, communities, and Jewish institutions as a result of these experiences. The study also explored the possible opportunities and challenges which practitioners, funders, and community leaders should consider, going forward, in relation to JOFEE.The research utilized mixed-methods, including qualitative and quantitative data collection, and a thorough review of related literature. Approximately 40 stakeholders were interviewed, including JOFEE program directors and educators, rabbis, funders, entrepreneurs, community organizers, thought-leaders, and Jewish education leaders. Additional qualitative data came from two focus groups in Colorado and four focus groups in New York. A survey of individuals over the age of 18 who had participated in immersive JOFEE programs (n=655) provided quantitative data. In addition, 41 immersive JOFEE programs completed a form providing summary information on their program's history of participation and staffing, budget and a program description. The variety of data sources, offering different perspectives, increases confidence in the findings of this initial look at JOFEE.