Teen boys receive countless messages throughout their lives about what it means to “be a man” and what male characteristics they should and shouldn’t emulate. In this program, teen boys explore the question, “what does it mean to be a Jewish guy,” and “how do we think about what it means to be a mensch?” We engage boys in critical media critique, active games and conversations in a relaxed atmosphere. We encourage boys to examine various models of manhood and define for themselves what it means to be a man in today’s world.
This group provides a place for boys to decompress from their stressful lives. In the group, boys learn tactics to help them deal with the stress they experience on a day to day basis and strategies for dealing with emotions in the context of a society that sends the message they should hold in their feelings.
JumpSpark Teen Boys consists of monthly sessions using the Moving Traditions Shevet curriculum led by Zak Elfenbein.
What is Shevet?
Shevet, launched in the Fall of 2011, empowers teen boys to navigate competition, aggression, social pressure, and other challenges in their lives, to challenge sexism, and to explore what it means to be a Jewish man and a mensch. This growing program has now been adopted by over a hundred Jewish institutions and close to three hundred men have been trained to serve as mentors for teen boys in their communities.
Second Year Mentorship Opportunity
Our second year 10th grade participants will continue to gather monthly in a small group while also serving as a mentor for a younger teen in their first year of the program. In serving as a mentor, participants will have the opportunity to actualize what they learn in their first year about manhood and friendship and learn valuable peer-to-peer mentorship skills from trained clinicians from VSSL.
Meet our Group Leader
Zak Elfenbein is serving as the group leader of our Teen Boys Program cohorts. Participating in transformative experiences like JCC Day Camps, JCC Maccabi Games and Maccabi USA led Zak to this role to support the Jewish community.
The cohort will meet approximately once each month from October 2021-April 2022. Meetings will take place on Sundays at 11am in person.
Dates and details will be added on this page as available. Dates and location are subject to change. Participants are encouraged to attend every session.
Initial findings regarding the impact of Shevet are strong.
- 86% of teen boys reported that they “got to know myself better”
- 81% of teen boys reported that they “learned that Judaism can help me in my personal life.”
- 92% of teen boys reported that they “became more aware of gender stereotypes and inequality in society.”
- 69% of teen boys reported that they “learned skills to help me tackle problems/challenges when things get hard or stressful.”
- 81% of teen boys reported that they “learned to think critically about what society tells us to be a ‘real’ man.”
- 56% of teen boys reported that they have “taken action to confront sexism” or “plan to take action to confront sexism”
- 87% of teen boys reported that they “strengthened their connection to the Jewish community.”