Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!

A message for parents of a new Rosh Hodesh teen.

Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! is an experiential education program currently touching the lives of 3,500 girls across North America.

The program uses Jewish teachings and practices — in a five-year cycle of curricular materials — to give girls a place to feel safe, articulate their deepest concerns, consider the impact of gender on their daily lives, have fun, and be ‘real’ with their peers.

Moving Traditions partners with synagogues, schools, and JCCs to operate the program. We train adult group leaders to facilitate Rosh Hodesh groups, which meet monthly for girls of one grade — for girls between the ages of 11-18.

Through discussion, arts & crafts, creative ritual, games, and drama, the girls and their leaders draw on Jewish values and a gender lens to explore the issues the girls care about most, such as body image, friendship, relationships, family, competition, and stress.

Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! was launched in 2002 as a response to two challenges that still face girls a decade later:

  • a majority of girls drop out of Jewish communal life after bat mitzvah.
  • girls’ self-concept plummets as they enter adolescence.

Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! was developed by educators, rabbis, social workers, and psychologists to address the real needs of teen girls within a rich Jewish context. It was the first program to draw on Jewish teachings and traditions to keep girls healthy and whole, instilling in them the ability to counter narrow views of gender in popular culture.

Today, over a decade later, with 340 groups now meeting — some of whom for their third, fourth and even fifth years — and more than 1,000 women trained as group leaders, the program has touched the lives of more than 12,000 girls.