Daily Israel Report
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News Brief

  3/19/2013, Nisan 8, 5773

New Programs Cite Lack of Male Interest in Judaism


Several new programs are now operating in the United States to encourage boys to become more connected to Judaism and Jewish life. An article entitled "Where the Boys Are" by Rahel Musleah was published in the most recent issue of Hadassah Magazine.
 
"Only 17 percent of boys participate in Jewish education by 12th grade -- one-third fewer than girls. Boys who remain involved say they are dissatisfied with activities," the report states. Sylvia Barack Fishman, codirector of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, conducted a study on American Jewish life and concluded that both synagogues and Jewish organizations would benefit by “finding new ways to balance... the psychosocial needs of boys and men.”
 
Rabbi Daniel Brenner, director of Moving Traditions’ Initiatives for Boys and Men commented, "boys are told their primary role should be in a romantic relationship with a girl. Cultural messages also emphasize independence and downplay male friendships," he stated. 
 
Such groups are among the many who have recently begun to advocate activities for males led by male teachers in an effort to develop a positive sense of self esteem in being male and being Jewish.