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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Moving Traditions

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Judaism, Religion

Mission: At Moving Traditions, we believe that when Judaism promotes self-discovery, challenges traditional gender roles, and celebrates a diversity of voices, it has the power to move our teens, our communities, and Judaism forward. Through our field-tested programs Rosh Hodesh and Shevet Achim, Moving Traditions creates experiences that inspire Jewish teens to openly explore fundamental questions of identity and society. We help teens reach their full potential by connecting relevant content with enduring Jewish values, and by fostering positive peer-to-peer relationships through our trained mentors. Together, with the guidance of Moving Traditions, more Jewish teens are growing into adulthood with confidence, compassion and a lifelong commitment to Jewish community.

Results: Our professional development, program certification training, and curricular materials prepare Jewish educators – more than 1,000 to date – to effectively challenge and inspire this generation of teenage girls and boys to find meaning in Jewish life. 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.

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.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

helene Aylon


Rating: 5

I was touched that a 13 year old Bar Mitzvah boy with an extensive Jewish background was inclined to reach out to his peers who may or may not have such a background and some may not even wish to set foot in a Synagogue after the apex of the Bar Mitzvah. There are so many ways for a young boy to be Jewish as he evolves into manhood combining a Jewish and a non-sexist approach. Moving Traditions was founded on these principles of a non-elitist, inclusive and profound sense of belonging. MT began the Rosh Chodesh services for girls; MT is now launching "The Brotherhood-Shevet Achim Gam Achim" for boys.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Sally Gottesman when she was first thinking of the name for her organization. Sally would never use her own namae. I was present when she thought of Movong Traditions as a name. Indeed not only does this organization move, but it is heartfelt, moving. It has touched girls across the country at a taime when they need to bond together. It has inspired older women to have a Bat Mitzva. It is now seeking to understand boys and find ways to bring them back into the fold after their Bar Mitzvas. I am volunteering my grandson who is in the University of Pa. to help in this regard.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Moving Traditions provided my daughter with its Rosh Hodesh for girls program at a critical time when she was begining to explore her identity and especially her Jewish identity. The engaging, thought-provoking, and fun curriculum I think made my daughter more centered in her life, more appreciative of her Jewish identity and history, and led her to make wise choices when confronting peer pressure and forming relationships.