At Moving Traditions, we believe that in order to have a healthy Jewish future, we must invest in teens’ health and well-being.
Most teens drop out of Jewish life right after their bar or bat mitzvah. This is a problem for the Jewish community. It is also a problem for teens who, research shows, benefit from being connected to a larger, values-based community. The solution, however, is not to focus on making teens more Jewish.
Instead, we need to meet teens where they are, connecting Jewish wisdom to the challenges and joys of their daily lives, such as self-esteem, body image, friendship, romance and academic stress, while encouraging teens to question fundamental ideas of identity and society.
This is what teens find so meaningful in Moving Traditions’ experiential signature programs, Rosh Hodesh and Shevet. Teens meet monthly in groups of 10 peers, guided by a trained adult mentor, using games, art, creative ritual, drama, debate and discussion.
As a result of this approach, research shows, Jewish teens feel an increased sense of connection to themselves, to their Jewish peers and to the Jewish community.
Moving Traditions has found—in an independent evaluation—that when we promote self discovery, challenge traditional gender roles and celebrate a diversity of voices, teens grow into adulthood with confidence, compassion and a lifelong connection to Jewish community.
- We challenge and discuss the fundamental questions of identity—the role of gender, age and Judaism.
- We guide Jewish teens on the pathway to adulthood, through self-discovery, mentorship and positive peer-to-peer relationships.
- We encourage conversation and collaboration for a more inclusive Judaism and the greater good.
- We inspire a lifelong connection to Judaism and its teachings.
Based in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, Moving Traditions has grown over the past 12 years to become a nationally recognized pioneer in Jewish education. Through work with over 400 partner institutions across North America, Moving Traditions’ educational programs, Rosh Hodesh and Shevet, have trained nearly 1,500 educators and impacted the lives of more than 20,000 teens. In addition to expanding the curriculum and refining the training for these programs, Moving Traditions develops professional development seminars that engage hundreds of educators each year to challenges traditional gender roles, celebrate a diversity of voices, and move our teens, our communities and Judaism forward.