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Zoom-mitzvahs moving the bar on tradition – comment

One year ago, no one had ever heard of a Zoom bar or bat mitzvah. They now rival Zoom weddings, baby namings, brisses, funerals and shivas as the most popular online Jewish rituals to attend during a pandemic. Zoom bnai mitvahs may be the only ritual with research and best practices, thanks to Moving Traditions and their Zoom-Mitzvah 101: A Moving Traditions Guide to Thinking Creatively About Pandemic B’nai Mitzvahs guide.

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Fund for the Future continues to fuel innovation

Better serving day school students with learning differences.

Connecting Judaism to LGBTQ+ teens’ process of self-discovery.

Helping Jewish and interfaith new parents build community and engage in Jewish life.

These are among the innovative initiatives supported by the most recent round of distributions from the Jewish Federation’s Fund for the Future, which is devoted to accelerating the community’s investment in Next Generation Jewish engagement.

The $550,000 in distributions, made in November 2020, bring total Fund for the Future disbursals to nearly $5 million to date.

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Novel ideas to celebrate bar/bat mitzvahs during continued COVID restrictions

 As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep Jewish services and life-cycle events smaller in size, many Jewish families are grappling with letting go of long-held expectations about the bar or bat mitzvah celebration they imagined for their child.

To that end, Moving Traditions has published a new guide to facilitate the transition.

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Learning from Grantee-Partners: A Series on Insights from Leaders in the Field

While the field of Jewish education and engagement today sees building mental health as essential, Moving Traditions has been pioneering this approach for 16 years. Two key learnings that deeply inform its work today are the ideas that:

  • Resilience is at the heart, where social justice and wellness intersect. When teens work for change, they reduce their stress and build resilience, while also building communities and a society that is stronger and more just. “What’s good for individuals is good for society and the wider world,” adds Deborah.
  • Building “members” of society is necessary and important work. In addition to leadership development, Moving Traditions strives to develop engaged citizens, active “members” of their community. Skills needed to be an active member, such as empathy, communication, and navigating differences are taught in its teen groups, Rosh Hodesh, Shevet, and Tzelem.

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Envisioning a 2021 B’nai Mitzvah: A Webinar for Parents and Grandparents About the Highs and Lows of Pandemic Celebrations

On December 7, 2020, Moving Traditions brought together parents, grandparents, and educators to explore zoom mitzvahs, car mitzvahs, and other creative ways that the Jewish community is letting go of long-held expectations about the B’nai Mitzvah experience and embracing the unique possibilities of the moment.

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