In Moving Traditions’ Tzelem groups, nonbinary, trans, gender expansive, and LGBTQ+ teens gather monthly with a trained adult mentor using a dynamic curriculum. Together in a circle of support, participants experience a brave, sacred space for them to articulate their deepest concerns, consider the impact of gender norms on their daily lives, celebrate and support together through joys and challenges, be their authentic selves with their peers, and explore topics that matter most to them.
All of our teen groups are safe and inclusive spaces for youth to join as they self-identify.
We proudly partner with Keshet to offer our Tzelem groups nationally.
Who: Tzelem is a safe, inclusive space for nonbinary, trans, gender expansive, and LGBTQ+ teens. Tzelem group leaders are hired by the hosting institution (or directly by Moving Traditions for community groups) and are trained by Moving Traditions in our research-based methodology. Group leaders are chosen because of their desire to serve as healthy adult role models for teens.
Where: Some Tzelem groups are offered through a partnering synagogue or institution (such as a school, JCC, camp, etc) who has licensed the Moving Traditions curriculum for the program in order to offer it to their own teens. Other Tzelem groups operate as regional community groups for teens/families who want a Tzelem group but aren’t affiliated with a Moving Traditions partner. Moving Traditions also offers at least one national online group that is open to trans and nonbinary teens across the country who might not have a Tzelem group within their local community. Groups either meet at the hosting institution or rotate through the rooms of the teens in the group. Due to Covid or geographic realities, some groups meet online or in a hybrid of online/in-person depending on circumstances.
When: Most Tzelem groups meet once a month, for 1.5 – 2 hours if in person, and for 1 – 1.5 hours if online. The schedule depends on each specific group – find one near you.
“I’ve accepted and loved myself more because of Tzelem.”
— Teen Participant
Engaging Discussions & Dynamic Curriculum
Like all Moving Traditions programs, Tzelem combines Jewish wisdom made relevant for today with positive psychology and social-emotional learning – proven methods of learning that foster wellbeing.
Tzelem (“image”) comes from B’Tzelem Elohim—the concept that each person is created in the image of God. Tzelem groups provide safe, sacred space for nonbinary, trans, gender expansive, and LGBTQ+ teens to explore and celebrate the various ways that Judaism honors expansive understandings of gender. Each month the Tzelem groups focus on topics such as healthy relationships, stress, belonging and identity; sessions also include opportunities to meet other teens and Jewish trans adult mentors, and to discuss issues around transition and gender expression. The teens explore the issues through games, art, discussion, and by drawing on Jewish teachings.
We also recognize transgender oppression is related to—but not synonymous with—sexism, and therefore address that as well in Tzelem.
Your gift to 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).