Moving Traditions Overview
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Programs: Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing! – building the self-esteem, leadership skills, and Jewish identity for thousands of teenage girls of all backgrounds across North America.
Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood is a program for teen boys aimed at helping them to navigate the issues of masculinity in their lives and give them Jewish guidance, both spiritual and ethical, regarding what it means to be a mensch.
Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age – a traveling exhibit from Moving Traditions and the National Museum of American Jewish History that tells the stories of the women who over the last ninety years turned a radical innovation into a nearly universal tradition.
Great Jewish education is not about teaching people how to be more Jewish. It is about teaching people how to see the brokenness in our society, to see themselves as agents of change, and to work with others to make for a more just and compassionate world.
One profound way that our society is broken is that girls are taught to feel shame about their physical appearance, to conform to the whims of social pecking orders, and to limit their options. Boys are taught that toughness means being emotionally detached, that relationships are not worth the effort, and that they are only men if they are able to erect a fortress of solitude around them. These gender norms are imposed in middle school and the damage that they inflict is evident in the growing number of Jewish teens that self-destruct, self-medicate, or lash out against others.
Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! has already empowered 10,000 Jewish girls to navigate the challenges of becoming a woman in our society, while inspiring them to connect to Jewish community. Girls from 6th-12th grades meet monthly in intimate gatherings operated by over 200 Jewish organizations and led by Moving Traditions-trained facilitators.
Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood seeks to stem the exodus of teen boys from Jewish life after bar mitzvah. The program empowers teen boys to navigate competition, aggression, social pressure, and other challenges in their lives – and to explore what it means to be a Jewish man and a mentsch. The growing program is now active in 28 Jewish institutions.