New local program addresses behavioral issues of concern to girls.
n response to its new survey of profes-
sionals who work directly with Jewish
girls, Jewish Women International has
launched "Brain Power for Girl Power Think
Tanks:' an initiative that brings together 40-
50 Jewish women at a time to learn about
and engage in constructive brainstorming
around the issues that affect Jewish girls.
JWI's Detroit version of "Brain Power",
focusing on self-destructive behaviors, was
held Oct. 30 at the Jewish Federation of
The survey, "Jewish Girls and Their
Behaviors" was designed by JWI in con-
junction with Professions Research Inc. of
Washington, polled Jewish professionals on,
among other issues, Jewish girls' participa-
tion in behaviors such as anorexia, alcohol
abuse and self-mutilation, or "cutting." The
survey revealed the top three most common
destructive behaviors encountered in Jewish
professional's work with Jewish girls: dis-
ordered eating habits and patterns (48%),
bullying (40%) and risky or precocious
sexual behavior (38%).
"Jewish girls are coming of age in a time
that is much more complicated than we
did:' said Loribeth Weinstein, executive
director of JWI. "The goal of our the Brain
Power for Girl Power Think Tanks is to cre-
ate a national dialogue around issues that
confront Jewish girls leading to programs
and initiatives that will help them on their
way to becoming become strong, healthy,
The Detroit Think Tank included pre-
sentations and moderated brainstorm-
ing sessions by experts in the field of
adolescent mental health. Speakers were
Mary Jo Barrett, an authority on trauma
and violence, and executive director and
co-founder of the Center for Contextual
Change of Metropolitan Chicago, and
Leslie Goldman, health writer and author
of Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth
about Women, Body Image, and Re-imag-
ining the "Perfect" Body.
JWI partners in the event were
the Jewish Women's Foundation of
Metropolitan Detroit, and Federation's
Alliance for Jewish Education, Young
Adult Division and Women's Department.
Future "Brain Power for Girl Power
Think Tanks" are planned for Washington,
New York and Los Angeles. ❑
JWI helps women and girls world-
wide celebrate their strength and
achieve independence. For more on
its programs creating safe homes,
healthy relationships and strong
women, call (800) 343-2823 or
visit www.jwi.org .
Leading the local think tank were Leslie Goldman, Loribeth Weinstein, Mary Jo
Barrett and Alyson Weinberg.
Attendees hear about self-destructive behaviors in which Jewish teenage girls are engaging.
Event chair Susan Feldman addresses the group.
November 13 • 2008