Moving Traditions contracted in 2007 with independent evaluator, Dr. Mirele Goldsmith, to assess the impact of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! on a sample of teen girls (397 girls) who were ongoing participants in the program. We have repeated the study annually with the same survey instrument, tracking girls from 6th to 12th grades. We have found that:
Girls have highly positive feelings about Rosh Hodesh and see it as their best option for ongoing participation in Jewish life.
92% report a positive feeling about their participation in Rosh Hodesh.
Of those with positive feelings about their participation in the group,
63% reported, “I like Rosh Hodesh more than any other Jewish activity”
66% feel that they “can talk about things in their Rosh Hodesh group that I can not talk about in any other environment.”
The result of their ongoing involvement in our programs is a deepening of Jewish connection and an increase in Jewish participation.
72% feel more connected to Judaism as a result of their ongoing participation.
77% feel more connected to Jewish peers as a result of their ongoing participation.
61% feel more interested in exploring other Jewish programs.
A more wide-reaching survey, Current Trends in Jewish Teen Participation with Out-of-School Activities: A Survey and Analysis of Relevant Research, prepared by Michael Whitehead-Bust for the Rose Community Foundation in February of 2010 helps us to understand the impact of our work among teen girls in general. The city-wide study took a close look at all teen programming available in Denver, Colorado and cites Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! as a “rigorous research-based program design with evaluation/outcomes assessment” which has been “well received by participants and by parents” and has “enjoyed significant growth.”
During the past cycle, with a pool of 311 continuing Rosh Hodesh groups across the U.S. we found that 75% of girls introduced to our Rosh Hodesh program before their bat mitzvah continued in our programs post bat mitzvah.
Given that only 44% of teens in American cities engage in any Jewish activity, even sporadically, after bar or bat mitzvah (see Being a Jewish Teenager in America, Charles Kadushin, 2001), Moving Traditions’ programs are helping not only to move the Jewish community in the right direction regarding teen engagement but to develop young Jewish women and men who can challenge narrow definitions of gender, who can cite Jewish values as the basis of their work to build a more just and inclusive world, and who can inspire their peers.