Emotion Before Content: Evidence-Based Recommendations for Designing Virtual Jewish Engagement for Young People

COVID-19 is affecting all aspects of life for Jewish Americans ages 18-40 (personal, financial, and mental health), and they are eager for sources of connection to other people that they have been missing. One way this cohort is attempting to revive that connection is through virtual engagement, with 90% participating in at least one form of virtual engagement since the pandemic started. And, 70% of those who have participated in a virtual event during the pandemic say that they have had at least one worthwhile experience doing so.

What separates successful virtual events from unsuccessful ones is their ability to meet three key needs that are facing
young American Jews right now: the needs for community, fun, and fulfillment.

Young people are seeking out virtual activities as a way to connect and fill a void of missing things they used to do, and
how participants feel during and after the event plays a key role in whether they view the event as worthwhile or meaningful. Successful virtual events can overcome Zoom fatigue and leave participants feeling good. Poorly executed events can have a negative, not neutral impact.

This report is based on a survey conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation.