Impact of Our B-Mitzvah Program

Moving Traditions’ New National B’nai Mitzvah Program, for Families – The Covenant Foundation

If one were to survey Jewish parents about what they think the most pivotal moment is in their child’s Jewish journey, chances are a majority would answer the B’nai Mitzvah. But whereas the ritual is meant to symbolize a moment when a young person stands at the dawn of a rich Jewish life to come, more often than not these days, the B’nai Mitzvah represents the opposite: an ending of sorts.

Often, with the B’nai Mitzvah, comes a slowing down of a young person’s time in synagogue, less frequent attendance in religious school, and for many families, the culmination of a journey that was just starting to rev up.

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A New Pedagogy for Parents and Children in Bar/Bat/Benai/B’ Mitzvah Education The Lookstein Center

By Daniel Brenner, Jewish Educational Leadership Journal
November 2, 2020

With an understanding that there have been both seen and unseen generational shifts in parent-teen relationships, five years ago my colleagues and I at Moving Traditions began piloting a new model of interactive family education for 6th and 7th graders in Jewish schools and synagogues that imagined the benai mitzvah as not about “becoming an adult” or “becoming a man” or “becoming a woman” but about “becoming a teen.”

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How a New Model of Family Education Places the Parent-Child Relationship at the Center of the B’nai Mitzvah Experience

By Rabbi Daniel Brenner, eJewish Philanthropy
March 18, 2019

Today, as we face a generational “Crisis of Connection,” Jewish educators are beginning to expand the scope of that dialogue to address the social and emotional needs of both parents and pre-teens.

Moving Traditions’ new b’nai mitzvah program is one example of this emerging approach to family education and two defining characteristics set it apart. First, the program encourages educators to view the b’nai mitzvah as not only a life-cycle event for the child, but as a significant rite of passage for the parent.

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Thinking Differently About B’nai Mitzvah

By Rabbi Daniel Brenner, eJewishPhilanthropy, October 30, 2018

In the wake of #metoo, many families are questioning the practice of hiring young women to fawn over thirteen-year-old boys, but Vegas-style b’nai mitzvah celebrations continue to grab the headlines and to give pre-teens grandiose ideas about the party. Meanwhile, a quiet revolution is taking place in how today’s families are approaching the rite of passage of b’nai mitzvah. Two years ago, I sat with podcast producer Michele Siegel (SlateThe New York Times, and WNYC) and podcast host Sara Ivry (Vox Tablet) discussing the idea of exploring the contemporary b’nai mitzvah experience, untangling the complexities of gender, culture, class, and Jewish identity as they present themselves in family celebrations across the United States, and exploring the rite of passage as a contemporary threshold where a child doesn’t become an adult, but a teen.

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