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Curriculum Overview

Manhood: Introduces the concept of masculinity and takes a critical look at how young men are taught to judge behaviors of other males. Also introduces Jewish ideas relating to manhood and being a mensch.

Wisdom: Looks at both the downside and upside of academic competition. Explores the conflicting messages men get about different types of intelligence and helps teen boys connect to Jewish values to identify their intellectual aspirations.

Money: Examines the ways in which men judge other men based on the use of money by discussing ideas such as “being spoiled,” stinginess, flaunting wealth, and arguments over money. Looks at the roots of generosity and extends the idea of generosity from friends to the wider community through acts of tzedakah.

Competition: Addresses the theme of “turning everything into a competition” and how this dynamic limits the experiences of men. Explores both positive and negative attributes of men that are amplified by athletic competition as well as academic and economic competition.

Pleasure: Examines how cultural norms about pleasure conflict with individual experiences of pleasure. Stresses the multiplicity of factors that go into pleasurable experiences, particularly around eating. Introduces the idea of seeking pleasure with others through intimacy and the role of consent. For more mature teens—introduces critical thinking regarding pornography.

Courage: Raises multiple examples of courage: physical, emotional, and moral to which men might aspire. Addresses the role of fighting, intimidation, and physical confrontation in the lives of teen boys. Connects teen boys to stories of Jewish men who exemplified multiple forms of courage.

Stress: Engages teens in a discussion about what causes them stress. Introduces tactics for managing stress and cultivating emotional intelligence.

Body: Looks closely at the messages that the wider culture and media are sending guys about their own bodies. Examines issues such as strength, flexibility, weight, height, and size. Introduces Jewish ethics around self-care.

Soul: Addresses the concerns of teen boys around theology and metaphysics and examines the limits of patriarchal God language. Encourages teen boys to expand their set of spiritual experiences in a Jewish context.

Language: Teaches guys to think about the way that words are used, addressing issues of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and homophobia as well as issues regarding personal character.

Beauty: Teaches guys to look critically at issues regarding what a guy is supposed to wear, how he is supposed to smell, and how he is supposed to groom.

Food: Relates ideas around eating and male culture including extreme eating, fasting, and eating for athletic conditioning. Discusses eating from a Jewish perspective including ethics and kashrut.

Posting:Helps teen boys to navigate the challenges of social media that exist in a world of video and photo sharing and sexting. Teaches Jewish ethics around gossip, judgment, and consent.

Balance: Helps guys to assess themselves, identifying areas of personal growth. Balance deals with extreme forms of behavior and relates Maimonidies approach to being a mensch.

Partying: Examines risky behaviors among older teen boys—particularly regarding drugs and alcohol. Encourages teen boys to play an “upstander” role in situations of risk.

Sexism: Engages guys in a discussion of male attitudes towards sexuality, towards women, and towards other men. Helps guys to think critically about sexism and the world sexism reinforces.

Storytelling: Helps teen guys to think about the role of story in both self-awareness and creating community. Helps guys to articulate their personal journey and challenges.

Vision: Encourages guys to think about their future as men and to consider who they aspire to be. Raises ideas around male friendship and mentorship and encourages guys to choose realistic challenges that they want to have in their lives.

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