Executive Director, Moving Traditions
RABBI DANIEL BRENNER TO LEAD MOVING TRADITIONS’ INITIATIVE FOR BOYS AND MEN
As organization nears 10,000 Jewish girls in Rosh Hodesh: It’s A Girls Thing! leader is appointed to champion new educational approach for teenage boys
Jenkintown, PA—Monday, November 29, 2010—Moving Traditions, the Philadelphia-based non-profit that focuses on the intersection of gender and Judaism and has been a pioneer in the field of Jewish education for teenage girls has appointed Rabbi Daniel Brenner to lead the organization’s efforts for teenage boys. Rabbi Brenner, who since 2007 has served as the founding executive director and the chief of education and programming for Birthright Israel NEXT, will assume the role on January 3, 2011.
Rabbi Brenner’s appointment follows Moving Traditions’ 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 inspire teenage boys to stay connected to Jewish life. Distilled from three years of research, 40 focus groups with Jewish boys, and extensive program development, the reports finds 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.
“I am extremely pleased to announce the addition of Rabbi Daniel Brenner to the Moving Traditions staff,” said Deborah Meyer, Executive Director of Moving Traditions. “With his deep knowledge of Judaism and the Jewish community and his success in launching an innovative national program, Daniel is perfectly suited to enlist policy makers, funders, parents, clergy and educators in Moving Traditions’ Call to Action to more effectively meet the needs and interests of Jewish teenage boys.”
Brenner is anticipating a challenge.
“This is the Jewish community’s biggest blind spot,” Brenner stated. “Participation by young men in Jewish life outside of Orthodox circles declines rapidly at age fourteen and never truly picks up. The time has come to train educators to address the ethical and developmental issues that are relevant to young men post-bar mitzvah, to introduce new approaches to the intellectual and spiritual traditions for men found in Jewish life, and to bring Jewish women and men together to address changing gender roles and shared responsibilities.”
Rabbi Brenner brings two decades of experience in teen and young adult education, including work with inner-city youth at the Fresh Air Fund, and in Jewish summer camping, including Camp Ramah and JCC Camps. Prior to ordination at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Brenner served in synagogues as educational director, youth advisor, and teacher in Hebrew High School and he worked with Israeli teens at Kibbutz Gezer. Following rabbinical school, Brenner served on the faculties of CLAL–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and the Auburn Theological Seminary, where he created a multi-faith curriculum for the international teen youth program, Face to Face/Faith to Faith. Rabbi Brenner’s work with men includes volunteer prison chaplaincy with Jewish men at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania and teaching in a Master’s degree program at Sing Sing Prison. He is also the father of two sons and a daughter.
Sally Gottesman, Chair of Moving Traditions, has known Rabbi Brenner since the late 1990s when he served on the faculty of CLAL. She added, “With Daniel’s leadership, Moving Traditions will enable the Jewish community to keep more Jewish teenage boys engaged in Jewish life by helping them explore who they are as Jews and as young men – thereby strengthening the Jewish future.”
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.