In The News

Moving Traditions in the news.

Jewish Journal

‘CultureShift’ Initiative Helps Camps Create Safe Environments in the #MeToo Era

By Esther D. Kustanowitz, Jewish Journal, August 14, 2019

While Moving Traditions had already been working with camps since 2015 on issues around harassment and consent, “#MeToo really raised the alarm for the Jewish community and the wider world that we can’t ignore them anymore,” said
Moving Traditions founder and CEO Deborah Meyer.

“What makes camp so special and unique is our intentionality, from the songs we sing, the activities we provide, to how we speak to one another,” said Dr. Aviva Levine Jacobs, director of camper care at Camp Ramah in California and a Moving Traditions camp advisory board member. “CultureShift addresses that intentionality around sensitive topics that touch all of our lives.”

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Camps Embrace Training in #MeToo Era

By Eric Schucht, Jewish Exponent, July 12, 2019

Summer camp has always been an opportunity for teens to have an impactful experience during a formative period of their lives. And in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the conversations during the camp experience have begun to change, leading to a shift in the culture of summer camp staff training.

In April, the Jenkintown-based nonprofit Moving Traditions hosted a two-day training event as a part of CultureShift, a new initiative aimed at challenging sexism and preventing sexual harassment and assault at camp. Fifteen senior staffers from nine Jewish overnight camps from across the country were present, including leaders from three camps in the Philadelphia area: Habonim Dror Camp Galil, Camp Havaya and Camp Ramah in the Poconos. The aim was to allow camps to have conversations revolving around sexism, identity and power dynamics in a safe environment in order to develop tools and strategies to improve camp life and safety.

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Turning Jewish Boys Into Mensches

By Marjorie Ingall, Tablet, February 1, 2019

The news abounds with stories of young white men behaving abominably…Men exploding in social media fury at a razor commercial (a razor commercial!) for its vile offense of depicting men standing up to bullying, stepping in to stop sexual harassment, and rejecting the notion that “boys will be boys.”

Young Jewish men aren’t exempt from such toxicity.

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Jewish Groups Take On Masculinity, Consent Education

Once a week, Isaac Santelli makes his way to a public school on Chicago’s South Side, where he volunteers teaching high school students about some of the most freighted words imaginable for young people today: sexuality, consent and communication.

“If kids can sense that you are uncomfortable talking about this, they’re already uncomfortable,” said Santelli, a junior at the University of Chicago. Luckily for his students, conversations about gender and consent are natural for Santelli, thanks to a program called Shevet that he participated in as a teenager.

As the #MeToo movement has encouraged women from across the country to come forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault, Jewish organizations are trying to help men and boys have conversations about these sensitive topics with a grounding in Jewish sources.

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eJewishPhilanthropy

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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A Jewish group builds community for transgender and nonbinary teens

By Josefin Dolsten, JTA, October 22, 2018

When Rabbi Tamara Cohen started working four years ago as the chief of innovation at Moving Traditions, she was seeking ways to cater to transgender youths. The organization had been running discussion groups for Jewish girls since 2002 and boys since 2010. It launched the Tzelem group for transgender teens last year as an alternative to the Rosh Hodesh girls group and Shevet boys group.

Tzelem, meaning “image” in Hebrew, refers to the biblical notion that all humans are created in the image of God.

Like Moving Traditions’ other groups, Tzelem offers discussions that allows to articulate their deepest concerns in a safe and Jewish setting.

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Congregational Leaders Train with Moving Traditions

Jewish Exponent, September 10, 2018

Moving Traditions, based in Jenkintown, nationally launched its new B’nai Mitzvah program, with a training for congregational leaders on Oct. 4 at Tiferet Bet Israel. Clergy and educators from Beth David Reform Congregation, Congregation Beth Or, Congregation Beth El, Germantown Jewish Centre, Temple Emanuel, Temple Sinai and Tiferet Bet Israel attended. The Carol Lowenstein Moving Traditions B’nai Mitzvah Training Institute helps families explore elements of the B’nai Mitzvah, such as being the center of attention, party culture and social media.

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Coming To The Right Answer By Themselves: Talking With Boys About Sexual Assault

Heard on Morning Edition, October 10, 2018

Moving Traditions founder and CEO Deborah Meyer says the goal is not to tell teens how they should behave, but to give them the space and guidance to arrive at the right answer with their peers.

“We help guys uncover the tenderness and the connection and the joy in themselves, as a human being, and develop for themselves a sense of ethics and values and responsibility,” Meyer says.

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