Securing the diasporic ‘self’ by travelling abroad: Taglit-Birthright and ontological security

Yehonatan Abramson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In recent years, the literature on diaspora politics has focused primarily on why and when migrant or ethno-religious groups adopt a diasporic stance and mobilise on behalf of their homeland. The ability of a community to sustain a diasporic stance across generations is less explored and often assumed to be dependent on discrimination in the host country or events in the homeland. By contrast, this article focuses on internal dynamics of the Jewish-American community to explore the development of Taglit-Birthright–a free educational trip to Israel offered to young Jewish adults. Drawing on the concept of ontological security–security of identity and subjectivity–I argue that the decision to invest in such a costly and experimental programme was the result of two perceived threats to Jewish diasporic identity: the threat to the diasporic narrative and the threat to the relationship with the homeland. Evidence for this claim is generated through interpretation of internal documents, media reports, and secondary literature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)656-673
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 12 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Diaspora politics
  • Taglit-Birthright
  • diasporic identity
  • homeland
  • ontological security
  • transnational identity-construction


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