Dr. Max Klau
Senior Research Consultant For Moving Traditions 2007 Introduction The literature review conducted in tandem with this research supports anecdotal evidence that boys are less involved and less engaged in Jewish life than their female peers. On the one hand, research suggests that there is nothing uniquely Jewish about this dynamic; boys and men are less involved in most religions. We recognize also that the implications of this gender dynamics are open to interpretation. For example, is this a problem that must be solved? A fact of life simply to be noted? A key into understanding some historical trend? As professional Jewish educators, we see this dynamic as representing—at the very least—a challenge. If our purpose is to ensure that the next generation of Jews remains connected and committed to Judaism, and that Judaism is available to help boys become healthy men, then this gender differential merits some disciplined attention. How can the Jewish community be more effective in enrolling and engaging adolescent boys? Why do the boys who currently show up choose to show up? Across both secular and Jewish youth organizations, what are intriguing practices related to working with boys? With this component of our research, we set out to find some answers to these questions. For this research, we interviewed directors or experienced program staff from nine different youth programs. Our criteria for inclusion in this study were as follows: 1) Works with Boys: The program works with adolescent boys anywhere in the range of grades 6 to 12, either exclusively or in a coeducational context.
The full 47 page Report is available here as a PDF: http://www.movingtraditions.org/images/stories/on_working_with_boys.pdf