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For Parents of B’nai Mitzvah

Are you getting ready to celebrate your child’s bar, bat, or b’mitzvah?

Thousands of families like yours in over a hundred Jewish communities have partnered with Moving Traditions to enrich their b’nai mitzvah preparations with a series of informal, family-based educational experiences that focus on:

  • Speaking honestly about the challenges of “becoming a teen” and “parenting a teen”
  • Encouraging healthy dialogue between parent and preteen
  • Making meaning out of the Jewish rituals connected to b’nai mitzvah
  • Helping teens find a place in the Jewish community where they receive support from peers, question the social pressures that they face in school and online, and take on new responsibilities

What does Moving Traditions do?

Moving Traditions conducts research and works with a team of rabbis, social workers, and psychologists to design exceptional informal educational experiences for families of preteens and teens that are infused with the latest in social-emotional learning and ancient Jewish wisdom.  Rabbis, cantors, and educators from communities across North America train with Moving Traditions and learn how to facilitate conversations based on the Moving Traditions curriculum.

In each session of the curriculum, preteens and their parents (or other guardians) learn together, listen to one another’s perspectives, and participate in a communal conversation that enriches the meaning of the b’nai mitzvah as a lifecycle ritual. Sessions (which run 60-90 minutes) include:

  • Today You Are an Adult: What does it mean to become a teen?
  • B’nai Mitzvah: Why am I doing this?
  • Repairing the World: What’s a mitzvah?
  • Beyond Thank You: What does it mean to be a host? a guest?
  • Fitting In and Standing Out: How will I navigate the teen years?
  • “You Just Don’t Understand:” How do parents and teens talk to each other?
  • Now What? Deepening Friendships and Finding Community
  • How to Connect When You’re Never Apart (COVID-19 curriculum)

Each session – whether online or in-person – includes interactive parent-child dialogue, wisdom from Jewish sources, and informal group games that keep the program engaging and fun.

In addition to the family education experiences, Moving Traditions has designed a series of informal educational sessions specifically for 6th and 7th graders and a prayer for those who are doing b’nai mitzvahs online.

What is @13?

Moving Traditions produced a six-episode podcast specifically for parents and preteens preparing to celebrate a b’nai mitzvah called @13. Producer Michelle Siegel (Slate, WNYC) brings host Sara Ivry (Tablet) together with Peggy Orenstein, Mark Oppenheimer, Rachel Simmons, Rabbi Sharon Brous, and many others to explore the meaning of the Jewish coming of age rituals.

What have other parents said about the Moving Traditions family education?

“It was great to help him understand why he will be doing this milestone event, what the significance is, and that at different points throughout his life it will have different meaning and relevance to him.”

“It was nice to be reminded that other families share some of the same conflicts, and even better to learn some concrete guidelines for disagreeing more lovingly. And that they’re rooted in our tradition”

“I enjoyed getting feedback from other parents about how they were handling gender expectations- especially the parents of girls”

“It was a good chance to have discussions with our kids that we don’t typically have”

“We got to hear about the challenges our kids are having as they become teenagers.”

How do I encourage my synagogue or community to partner with Moving Traditions?

If you’d like to bring the program to your community, contact Sarah Fox at sfox@movingtraditions.org

Where can I learn more?

 

 

 

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