Annual Report 2016-2017

The Path to Healthy, Connected Jewish Teens





Exploring Identity, Building Community

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.

The Whole Teen

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 Achim. Teens meet monthly in groups of 10 peers, guided by a trained adult mentor, using games, art, creative ritual, drama, debate, and discussion.

The Jewish Future

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.

Here’s how we do it.

National Impact

Together, with our partners and the guidance of Moving Traditions, more Jewish teens are growing into adulthood with confidence, compassion, and a lifelong commitment to Jewish community.



Board of Directors

Sally Gottesman, Chair
Hope Suttin, Vice Chair
Jonathan Krasner, Secretary
Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Ph.D., Treasurer
Madelyn Bucksbaum Adamson
Rabbi Carole Balin
Lorin Decker
Alisa Doctoroff
Sheryl Kaye
Mike Markovits
Deborah Meyer
Lori Perlow


Deborah Meyer, Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer Anolik, Curriculum Specialist
Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Chief of Education & Program
Robin Cohen, Chief of Finance & Operations
Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Chief of Innovation
Jillian Finkelstein, Development & Communications Specialist
Sarah Fox, Program Manager & Philadelphia Program Director
Stephanie Freedman, Manager of Recruitment & Mentoring
Lisa Gersten, Chief of External Relations
Laura Hyman, Boston Director
Jillian Ivey, Chief of Communications & Development
Liz Kaufman-Taylor, Database Administrator
Mimi Levine, Assistant to the CEO
Robyn Levitan, Director of Program Development National Counsel
Lyn Manus, Finance & Development Specialist
Nicole Nevarez, New York Director
Adam Oded, Development & Communications Manager
Gila Robinson, Chicago Director
Ben Schindler, Chief of Field Operations
Beth Tigay, California Director
Leah Weiner, Interim Colorado Director


We deeply appreciate the generous support from the many individual contributors to Moving Traditions and from the following institutions:

Alan B. Slifka Foundation
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
The Crown Family
Dobkin Family Foundation
Dorot Foundation
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund
Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
Jim Joseph Foundation
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York
Lasko Family Foundation
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation
The Miriam Fund
The Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation
Paula and Jerry Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation
The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation
Project Accelerate
Rose Community Foundation
UJA-Federation of New York
Jewish Federation’s Women of Vision Foundation of Greater Philadelphia

Click here to download this report as a PDF.