In The News

Moving Traditions in the news.

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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Training Sessions Address #MeToo Issues at Camps

By Selah Maya Zighelboim, Jewish Exponent, June 6, 2018

As a former Jewish summer camper, Moving Traditions CEO Deborah Meyer said camp was a place where she developed long-lasting friendships and an intense connection to Jewish life.

But it was also a place where she remembers some inappropriate behavior between counselors.

“The broader society, the broader culture seeps into summer camp,” Meyer said. “Even camps with really good policies still have human beings, especially counselors, who are coming with their good intentions, but are bringing in some of the norms from the wider culture around hook-up and objectification and sexualization, and just ways of relating that are not necessarily really thought through in terms of how to create a healthy and safe space for younger teens and preteens and younger children.”

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The #MeToo movement goes to summer camp

By Deborah Meyer and Jeremy Fingerman, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 10, 2018

…Summer camp is where many of us form our deepest and longest-lasting relationships. It is often rightly held up as a healthy oasis, an alternative to the social pressures of popular culture, including a much-needed break from life driven by screens.

And yet, we bring all of our cultural norms and expectations with us to camp. Normative discriminatory or biased attitudes toward gender, sex and power can lead to inappropriate behavior mirroring the outside world, from all levels – administration, counselors and campers….

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Getting ready for summer

By Joanne Palmer, Jewish Standard, March 22, 2018

The Foundation is investing in what it calls the Shmira Initiative; so far, it’s spent $100,000 on the program. The goal is to “change camp culture on all levels, implementing a shift in staff programming, training, policy and enforcement around issues of gender, sex and power.”

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