In The News

Moving Traditions in the news.

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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Kol Koleinu Fellowship Develops Change-Making Jewish Teen Feminist Activists

(By Esther D. Kustanowitz, Jewish Journal)

Founded by Moving Traditions, Kol Koleinu is open to Jewish high school students nationwide. Fellows learn about gender analysis, feminism and social change, teach their peers and complete feminist activist projects. In previous years, the group met monthly virtually and then in-person a few times a year. This year, all planned gatherings are virtual.

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Four Local Teens Among 2020-’21 Kol Koleinu Fellows

Jewish Exponent, August 28, 2020

Four Philadelphia-area teens were named 2020-’21 fellows for the Kol Koleinu program established by Moving Traditions, the Union for Reform Judaism and United Synagogue Youth.

The third-year program will featured 50 Jewish girl-identified teens in grades 10-12 in three regional cohorts who will “explore and deepen their feminist knowledge, channel their voices to share their beliefs and use their skills to create tangible change in their communities.”

“The pandemic, #MeToo movement, and struggle for racial justice are energizing Jewish teen girls to work for social change,” said Moving Traditions founder and CEO Deborah S. Meyer. “In the face of enormous stress from social isolation, these young women feel called to make meaningful contributions to their families, communities, and society.

Local teens include Leah Anderson, a senior at Friends’ Central School; Tess Armon, a sophomore at Abington Senior High School; Jocelyn Freed, a senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy; and Hope Wahrman, a junior at Lower Merion High School.

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George Floyd Black Lives Matter

Statement in Memory of George Floyd and in Solidarity with those Fighting Racism

Let us teach our youth to recognize that the world rests on “justice, on truth and on peace” (Pirkei Avot 1:17). May we cease standing on the blood of our neighbors (Leviticus 19:16), instead doing all we can to stop the ceaseless killing of Black and Brown people in our country. May we hold to a vision of hope and press our society to truly repent and make teshuva for the sins of racism.

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