For Immediate Distribution
Executive Director, Moving Traditions
215.887.4511 x101 · 215.837.3314 (c) · email@example.com
“JOURNEY TO MANHOOD” KEY TO ENGAGING TEENAGE BOYS IN JEWISH LIFE
Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action advocates gender-aware approach to engaging teenage boys; training and professional development for Jewish educators
Jenkintown, PA—November1, 2010 – Moving Traditions announces the release of Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action, a comprehensive report offering Seven Lessons and Seven Principles to help Jewish educators more effectively and meaningfully inspire teenage boys to stay connected to Jewish life. A conference call to discuss the report will be held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time (details below), and the report will be available immediately following the press call.
Distilled from three years of research, 40 focus groups with Jewish boys, multiple pilot tests and program development, the findings suggest that putting boys’ developing masculinity—their journey to manhood—at the center of male-focused Jewish programming will keep more boys engaged in Jewish life beyond bar mitzvah. Detailed findings, including the Seven Lessons and Seven Principles, will be discussed on the press call.
“We found that boys’ experience of their lives as males matters enormously to them: the literature suggests it, and our focus groups and action research confirm it,” says Dr. Michael Reichert, Moving Traditions’ lead researcher and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives, a research partnership with the University of Pennsylvania. “As they set their identities, having the chance to meet with other boys to explore being male is deeply engaging. Moreover, we found that when boys participate in programming that puts the Seven Principles into practice, they become more engaged in Jewish life.”
Informed by this research, Moving Traditions has crafted a comprehensive initiative to help both formal and informal Jewish educators better serve Jewish teenage boys:
- Seven Lessons and Seven Principles for more effective Jewish education;
- A Marketing Toolkit outlining best practices for more successfully reaching Jewish teenage boys.
- A Program Curriculum suitable for standalone use or for incorporation into any number of settings and programs; and
- A Path to Implementation comprised of professional development opportunities for Jewish educators.
“We are issuing a Call to Action to policy makers, funders, parents, clergy and educators to join Moving Traditions in better understanding teenage boys and adopting new ways to work with them,” says Deborah Meyer, Executive Director of Moving Traditions. “By doing so, we can help adolescent boys grow into self-aware Jewish men who are comfortable exploring both their religion and their masculinity, and in turn, strengthen our Jewish future.”
With the generous support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and other funders, Moving Traditions created the report as a starting point for identifying solutions to several well-documented and interrelated problems:
- Jewish boys drop out of Jewish life in great numbers after bar mitzvah;
- Jewish boys are greatly dissatisfied with much of Jewish programming, even more dissatisfied than girls; and
- Jewish institutions are struggling to recruit and retain teenage boys.
“We believe this report and its findings are vital to advancing a dialogue about meaningfully engaging teenage boys in Jewish life,” says Lisa Eisen, National Director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “Left unaddressed, the trend of Jewish boys leaving Jewish life will continue to deprive our community of the richness and diversity these boys have to offer while denying the boys the wisdom, core values and community inherent in Jewish tradition.”
Moving Traditions’ Board Chair Sally Gottesman and Executive Director Deborah Meyer and Dr. Michael Reichert of the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives, a research partnership of the University of Pennsylvania, will conduct a brief presentation on the findings of Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action at 11:00 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. The call will be moderated by the Schusterman Family Foundation’s National Director, Lisa Eisen. A question-and-answer session will follow. Members of the press interested in participating in the call may dial (800) 553-0288. The international dial-in number is (612) 332-0345.
For more information about the report or if you are interested in starting or joining a dialogue about engaging boys in Jewish life, please contact Deborah Meyer and visit www.movingtraditions.org.
About Moving Traditions
Moving Traditions inspires women and men, boys and girls to engage more deeply with Judaism. Gender serves as our framework because it is shaped by culture and thereby defines who we are and who we can become. Moving Traditions’ logo incorporates the word masorot (traditions) because of our belief that every generation is called to move Judaism forward while remaining true to its profoundly moving traditions. www.movingtraditions.org
About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation ensures vibrant Jewish life by empowering young Jews to embrace the joy of Judaism, build inclusive Jewish communities, support the State of Israel and repair the world. Established in 1987 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Foundation also provides assistance to non-sectarian charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in our hometown, especially in the areas of education, child advocacy and youth development. www.schusterman.org