A newly hired vice president who is leading the new outreach effort, Rabbi Daniel Brenner, estimated the portion of Birthright Israel alumni who do not now engage in Jewish life at 60%.
But he said his new program presents an "amazing window of opportunity" — both for the Jewish community and for the many who have lost touch with it.
So far, he said, the new initiative has enough funding to support a $3.3 million annual budget, which it hopes to double next year, as well as a growing pool of interested young Jews. Online social networking is one recruitment device outlined in the strategic plan, and Birthright Israel already has one victory.
Rabbi Brenner said that a YouTube video modeled after the well-circulated "Obama Girl" video — this one is titled "Rosh Hashanah Girl," which features a Birthright alumna, singer-songwriter Michelle Citrin — has been watched by 402,000 people.
"You really cannot argue with 402,000 views," Rabbi Brenner said.
Here's the link to the NY Sun piece that ran last month. I meant to put it up.