Orthodox teen group keeps youths in tow, study asserts

NCSY is a program of the Orthodox Union. With an annual budget of $10 million, NCSY runs Jewish culture clubs in 87 public schools around the country. Other programs range from weekend Shabbatons and to weekly sports nights in three Midwestern JCCs.

According to the study, 94 percent of the NCSY alumni who were yeshiva students in high school continued their Jewish education.

But more surprising, 80 percent of the public school students have continued their formal Jewish education during or after their college years.

"It means they did things beyond going to Hillel events," said Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, national director of the youth movement. "They went to Yeshiva University or Touro College" — two Orthodox institutions — or studied full time in a yeshiva in the United States or Israel.

Just 2 percent of all NCSY alumni have married non-Jews, compared with a 52 percent intermarriage rate among the most recently married Jews surveyed in the National Jewish Population Study.

The program is also touting the high retention rate of Orthodox kids demonstrated by the study — and NCSY's success in turning high school kids connected with the liberal movements into Orthodox Jews.

Of NCSY alumni who said they were Orthodox in high school, 94 percent say they still are, and 3 percent say they're Conservative.

In the National Jewish Population Study, less than one-third of those raised Orthodox remained so as adults, whole 40 percent identified as Conservative and 18 percent as Reform.