Had a great session lunchtime today over at the Siegel JCC. Thanks to Jewish Federation of Delaware and the J for taking the time to have the staffs of all the local Jewish agencies and organizations over to do some learning, in this case about communication and office relationships.
Last Friday I had a great conversation with a congregant over coffee about what we could be doing to engage our Jewish youth, especially our boys. It's become trope at this point: boys are engaged by the process of Bar Mitzvah and see it as an end unto itself ('today I am a man!'), but disengage from religious school, confirmation, youth groups and other forms of Jewish youth engagement, while continuing to get conflicted messages from the media about what it means to be a 'man'.
There are increasing efforts to engage boys while still maintaining a sense of egalitarianism. Moving Traditions (the folks who brought you "Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing") are working on a parallel program for boys that emphasizes ritual, physical engagement, and creating a safe space to talk about what it means to be a Jewish Man. Likewise the Berman Jewish Policy Archive is putting resources forward as well.
So what can we do to engage our boys?