Moving Tradition’s new program for teen boys, Shevet Achim, grew out of three years of research. Seeing that boys were disconnecting from Jewish life after bar mitzvah, at a time when the guidance, friendship, and sense of purpose that Judaism could provide were most needed, we set out to re-imagine the transition from being a boy to being a young man. (Read more about our research in the report, Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action.)
Teen boys who participate in Shevet Achim groups tell us that they enjoy spending time in a “guy space,” where they can explore what masculinity and being Jewish means to them. The boys report that the experience offers them a more “honest,” “relevant,” and “cool” way to participate in the Jewish community. The adult mentors who Moving Traditions has trained as group leaders tell us that in Shevet Achim the guys “decompress” from their stressful lives and that they balance clowning and horseplay with deep discussions of what Judaism has to say about the ethical challenges of their every day lives.
In the 2016-17 academic year, Moving Traditions is partnering around the country with over 120 Jewish institutions — synagogues, JCCs and Jewish day schools – touching the lives of more than 1,300 post-bar mitzvah boys.