Moving Traditions trains professional educators and volunteer mentors to help teens in their communities to bring Jewish values to bear on the highly-gendered challenges of their lives.
Moving Traditions’ national training conferences are thought-provoking, skill-building, and spiritually uplifting three-day seminars for group leaders who are preparing to lead Rosh Hodesh and Shevet Achim groups of teen girls and boys. Conference participants will practice Moving Traditions’ approach incorporating gender and Judaism into an experiential program for adolescents. They will learn from one another in an open, inclusive, and pluralist Jewish context.
“Your training was hands down the best I’ve ever attended. It was productive, insightful, new, and interesting. I’m really looking forward to next year (with my group).”
— Group Leader, Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria, VA
“The training experience was phenomenal, we learned why this approach is so necessary in American Judaism today and we learned how to successfully implement the program into our community.”
— Group Leader, Temple Sinai, Denver, CO
The group leaders come from synagogues, JCCs, and other institutions. They include rabbis and professional Jewish educators, as well as lawyers, social workers, physicians, and artists who come from across the spectrum of Jewish life – Orthodox, Secular, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist. In 2012, 93% of participants felt that the training inspired them to take a new approach to mentoring Jewish teens, and 97% reported that the training had enriched their own Jewish education (click here to see photos from 2015).
Our Training Philosophy
Why is it so critical to encourage educators and mentors to focus on “gender” with Jewish teens?
Moving Traditions does not view teen girls and teen boys as being essentially different in terms of their psychological, intellectual, or spiritual abilities – but we do recognize that most teen girls and most teen boys face profoundly different challenges as they “come of age” in a culture with fairly narrow gender codes. Gender codes and expectations inform how girls and boys are told to dress, speak, walk, dance, pray, participate in class, take on leadership roles, handle tension with friends and parents, take on academic, athletic, and creative challenges, explore sexually, take risks – gender codes are what teens are “swimming” in and what have, in many ways, shaped them. Fortunately, Jewish values regarding character development and ethics can help teens to think critically about these codes and to develop an expansive view of what it means to be a “mensch.”
In our training, the Moving Traditions educational team explores the ways that we can help teens to navigate the gender codes around them, to resist narrow definitions, and to create experiences in the Jewish community and beyond it where all people feel responsible for one another and feel free to be themselves.
We also offer training and consultation for organizations, schools, camps, and other institutions. Learn more about this.