Moving Traditions emboldens teens by fostering self-discovery, challenging sexism, and inspiring a commitment to Jewish life and learning.
Moving Traditions believes it is critically important for the Jewish community at this time of cultural upheaval and polarization to help teens navigate the world so they will thrive as healthy, ethical, and Jewishly connected people.
However, while a majority of Jewish teens will become b’nai mitzvah, most drop out of Jewish life soon after, leaving the Jewish community at a critical stage, just when they are figuring out who they are and how to behave in a society that often dictates narrow and unhealthy gender roles and ways of dealing with differences.
Moving Traditions connects the issues teens care about most—such as body image, friendship, social and academic pressure, romance, and sexuality—to enduring Jewish values, fosters positive peer-to-peer relationships through our trained educators and mentors, and inspires participants to develop an ongoing connection to Jewish community. By promoting a more inclusive and expansive view of gender for Jewish girls, boys, and transgender and nonbinary teens, we create a more vibrant, engaging Judaism that helps all teens to flourish.
Established in 2005, Moving Traditions launched with a Teen Group program for girls, Rosh Hodesh, and has since created Shevet for boys and Tzelem for transgender and non-binary teens. Our new B’nai Mitzvah program helps 6th and 7th graders and their parents develop strong communication and empathy as they prepare to become and parent a teen, and the Carol Lowenstein Moving Traditions B’nai Mitzvah Training Institute prepares clergy and educators to lead meaningful, Jewish conversations to help families navigate this important “coming of age” time of life. Together, the Moving Traditions B’nai Mitzvah program and Teen Groups comprise the Pathway to Flourishing Jewish Teens.
Our latest training initiative, CultureShift, prepares camp leaders to train their counselors and staff to challenge sexism, sexual harassment, and assault at camp, and to promote healthy relationships rooted in safety, respect, and equity.
To date, Moving Traditions has emboldened 23,000 teens, trained 1,850 adults as B’nai Mitzvah program leaders and Teen Group mentors, and partnered with more than 400 congregations, JCCs and other Jewish entities across North America. We operate six staffed regions in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.