YOUNG JUDAEA, U.S. Zionist youth organization. Founded in 1909 Young Judaea drew its members from Jewish students. The original group was led by Emanuel *Neumann. It formulated as its goals the advancement of the cause of Zionism; furthering the mental, moral, and physical development of Jewish youth; and the promotion of Jewish cultural ideas in accordance with Jewish tradition. It was affiliated with the *Zionist Organization of America and published a journal, the Young Judaean, originally edited by Henrietta *Szold. In 1940 it came under the jurisdiction of the American Zionist Youth Commission, a joint effort of *Hadassah and the ZOA and in 1967 became the sole responsibility of Hadassah. The first settlers in Israel from the Young Judaea movement arrived during World War I, among them members of the *Jewish Legion. At its peak of membership (1948) Young Judaea had over 30,000 members, but along with other Zionist groups in the U.S. it suffered a decline in membership following the establishment of the State of Israel. Each year thousands of young people age 8–18 attend its clubs, conventions, activities, and six summer camps including Tel Yehudah, the movement's senior leadership camp in Barryville, New York. Its Year Course program, founded in 1956, brings more than 400 young people annually to Israel during a "gap year" between high school and college, for a 10-month program of study, community volunteering, and intense engagement with Israeli society. A variety of other programs involve visits to Israel for high school and college students. The Hamagshimim program is for college students up to age 30. In 1973 a group of its members founded kibbutz Keturah in the Aravah.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.