“Our Next Generation” strategic plan outlines how the organization will reach twice as many teens nationwide by 2025
October 20, 2022 – At a time when teens are struggling with persistent sadness and hopelessness, Moving Traditions announced an ambitious goal to double its impact to help twice as many teens by 2025 access the sense of personal wellbeing, connection, and purpose made possible through its programs.
Today’s youth report feeling disconnection and loneliness at unprecedented levels. According to a 2021 CDC report, one out of every four young women, and one out of every two LGBT teens, has contemplated suicide. Recent surveys of Jewish teens reveal high levels of persistent sadness across all demographics, trouble coping with academic pressure, and self-esteem issues. Though these trends existed before the pandemic, they have significantly worsened in recent years.
And yet, today’s teens also have so much untapped potential, bringing novel ideas about leadership, power, and identity. They remind adults to continue to see and seek to fix that which is broken in our world.
To meet this growing need, Moving Traditions emboldens Jewish youth to thrive through the pursuit of personal wellbeing (shleimut), caring relationships (hesed), and a Jewish and feminist vision of equity and justice (tzedek).
“Moving Forward: Our Next Generation,” a new strategic plan and accompanying video released today by the organization describe how.
Moving Traditions offers a suite of programs that combine positive psychology with Jewish wisdom made relevant for today. The programs include the Moving Traditions B-Mitzvah Family Education Program; Teen Groups including Rosh Hodesh, Shevet, and Tzelem; a new Kulam curriculum for Hebrew High Schools; and teen leadership opportunities including the Meyer-Gottesman Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellowship and an upcoming Jewish Identity and Racial Justice Initiative.
Designed using evidence-based teaching methods, it’s no surprise that Moving Traditions’ programs work. According to evaluation data:
- 91% of teens say, “My experience with Moving Traditions programs was good or great.”
- 90% of teens say, “I felt supported (in my needs around mental, emotional, social and/or spiritual health) by my group leader.”
- 82% of preteens say, “The Jewish content in the B-Mitzvah program is relevant to my life.”
- 98% of Kol Koleinu fellows say the program helped me grow as a feminist and an activist.
- 87% of parents say, “B-Mitzvah Family Education makes me feel like I am part of a Jewish community that supports me.”
- 92% of educators say, “Moving Traditions’ program helped me connect Jewish wisdom to youth’s social-emotional development.”
Since its founding in 2005, the organization has emboldened more than 28,000 youth across North America by training more than 2,500 Jewish educators and clergy from more than 500 partnering Jewish institutions.
Today, the organization announced that it aims to build on that foundation with the release of “Moving Forward: Our Next Generation,” a strategic plan that outlines three key goals:
- Embolden over 10,000 Jewish teens and preteens annually by 2025 across North America to thrive by strengthening their Jewish identities, wellbeing, relationships, and commitment to justice.
- Strengthen the ecosystem of support for Jewish youth by creating educational experiences for parents and grandparents, and training and professional development for educators
- Secure the resources to achieve our programmatic goals by investing in resource generation, organizational development and infrastructure, board growth, and staff and board diversity and equity.
Because of its solid foundation of programs, curricula, trainings, staff, and systems, Moving Traditions projects that it only needs only to increase its budget by 25% over three years to accomplish these goals and reach 100% more participants.
“I have discussed this strategic plan with dozens of parents, funders, and stakeholders, and everyone I spoke to has a personal connection to this work,” says Shuli Karkowsky, CEO of Moving Traditions. “Everyone knows a Jewish teen languishing from sadness or despair who could benefit from the unique support that the Jewish community can provide, or a teen ready to change the world for the better if only given the right toolkit and amplification. I hope people will read the strategic plan and harness the power of those personal experiences to become part of the solution: connect us to an institution that could host Moving Traditions’ programs, come to one of our webinars to learn more, or to make a gift.”
“We are going to help so many young people build their sense of confidence, their connection to Jewish community, and their skillset to change the world for the better,” says Rabbi Darcie Crystal, Moving Traditions’ Board Chair. “We hope you will join us for this unique moment of opportunity, as together, we embolden Jewish teens to thrive.”
About Moving Traditions
Moving Traditions is a national nonprofit that emboldens Jewish youth to thrive through the pursuit of personal wellbeing (shleimut), caring relationships (hesed), and a Jewish and feminist vision of equity and justice (tzedek). Our suite of programs includes Moving Traditions B-Mitzvah Family Education Program for preteens and parents; Teen Groups including Rosh Hodesh, Shevet, and Tzelem; a new Kulam curriculum for Hebrew High Schools; and teen leadership opportunities including the Meyer-Gottesman Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellowship and an upcoming Jewish Identity and Racial Justice Initiative. Through CultureShift, Moving Traditions trains professionals who work with Jewish teens at camp and elsewhere about how to navigate gender, healthy boundaries, and more. Since it was established in 2005, Moving Traditions has emboldened more than 28,000 preteens and teens by partnering with more than 500 Jewish institutions across North America. Learn more at www.movingtraditions.org.