Moving Traditions’ commitment to serving transgender and gender nonconforming Jewish youth is rooted in our core values, our mission, and our theory of change. We work with teens in all our groups—Rosh Hodesh for teen girls, Shevet for teen boys, and now Tzelem for transgender, nonbinary, gender fluid, or gender questioning—to facilitate an exploration of traditional gender roles and to encourage teens to challenge them. We believe this is good for teens and good for Judaism.
Tzelem seeks to enrich teens’ lives with the same core outcomes as all Moving Traditions Teen Groups:
- Develop a strong self-concept and the social emotional skills to navigate through life.
- Recognize and resist sexism personally and in their communities.
- Experience Judaism and Jewish community as personally relevant and meaningful.
We also recognize transgender oppression is related to – but not synonymous with – sexism and therefore address that as well in Tzelem.
Like Rosh Hodesh for teen girls and Shevet for teen boys, 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.
Here is what teens are saying about Tzelem:
“Being in Tzelem helped me think about how I want to be perceived in the world and how I can do this through religious and gender identity.”
“Because of Tzelem, I feel a lot less isolated from fellow trans Jews.”
“Tzelem inspired me to reach out and make a local community of queer Jews to support me in a way other online groups do not, and really showed me how much I had needed that.”
Tzelem Online Group
Tzelem Los Angeles
Tzelem New York