TRIBE TALK CONNECTION prepares rising college students to live a meaningful Jewish life in college. Tribe Talk is an online platform that helps high school students have the knowledge to navigate the challenges they may encounter related to college antisemitism and anti-Zionism and to understand the myriad organizations that exist on campus.
Tribe Talk is not an advocacy based organization. Our goal is to aggregate content, educate, prepare and connect students to one another and to the college campus.
WHY TRIBE TALK?
Antisemitism on college campuses is rising at an alarming rate. While the ADL reports there has been an 86% increase in incidents in just the last two years, those are only the reported incidents - many more go unreported. Furthermore, college antisemitism is especially difficult to deal with because it is often cloaked as opposition to Israeli policies.
High school students do not feel prepared to navigate the challenges they may face. In addition, they are not aware of the many Jewish communal organizations that exist on campus (i.e. the campus landscape) that can help them connect to a meaningful Jewish life on campus.
There is no central resource that links high-school students to the college campus. Tribe Talk aggregates content from multiple organizations and provides first hand experience from current college students for rising college students. Our goal is to help students have a deeper understanding of Jewish life on the college campus and be able to make more informed choices about where to go to college.
Michelle Black has been an active leader in the Boston Jewish community for over 20 years. She currently serves on the boards of Gann Academy and The Rashi School, where she serves as a community builder, strategic advisor and champion for expanding the reach and impact of our local Jewish Day Schools.
Michelle is a past recipient of CJP’s Young Leadership award and was recently presented with the Circle of Excellence Award for her commitment and passion to Jewish communal Service. She has previously served on the board of CJP, is a past participant of the Acharai Leadership Development program and alumni of JFNA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet.
Originally from San Francisco, Michelle moved to Boston to earn her MBA from the Harvard Business School. Professionally, she worked as an organization and change management consultant, with a focus on leadership development, change mangement, corporate strategy and organizational design. She now applies her business skills and experience to strengthen and support the local Jewish, non-profit community.
Michelle lives in Waban with her husband, Darren, and their 4 children, Evan (age 17), Scott and Emily (age 14), and Alex (age 12).
Why TRIBE TALK CONNECTION?
As a family we have prioritized the importance and value of a Jewish education for our children. We have appreciated the strong Jewish foundation they have received as students at Rashi and Gann and have reinforced these Jewish values within our home. Each child has a strong Jewish identity and a set of guiding values that will help guide them through the world. At the same time, it is clear that as my son is not adequately prepared to defend Israel, especially when confronted with antisemitism and anti-Israel bias. This is not the fault of our Jewish Day schools system. Rather, it is a broader communal responsibility to ensure that our kids know the full story and learn to love Israel with all of her challenges. A nuanced understanding of the current situation both in Israel and on the college campus requires a targeted educational approach along with a tool-kit to respond.
Robin Friedman is a dedicated community volunteer. Robin is currently a member of the Strategic Israel Engagement Committee of Combined Jewish Philanthropies. She is a former Board Member of the Donna Klein Jewish Academy, as well as a past PTO co-President, and has co-chaired the Spirit and Spice series for the Federation of South Palm Beach County. She has previously served as co-chair of the Lawyer’s Team for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and is a past participant of the Acharai Leadership Development Program.
Robin is an experienced attorney who concentrated her practice in employment law, dealing with issues involving sexual harassment and discrimination. She has been
published by the Boston Business Journal and quoted by the Boston Globe. Robin currently engages solely in pro bono work, most recently representing victims of domestic violence. She is a recipient of the Volunteer Lawyers Project award.
Robin lives in Newton with her husband David and her three sons Harry (19), Ben (19) and Will (17).
Why TRIBE TALK CONNECTION?
The idea for Tribe Talk began for me when a Jewish college student, of whom I think very highly, admitted that she was hiding her Jewish identity. This is a woman who had attended Jewish day school, and I wondered how this could be possible. I began educating myself about what was really happening on college campuses, and I learned that, while some students never experience discrimination, others are deeply affected by both antisemitism from the right and anti-Zionism from the left. Jewish college students today have to contend with everything from mezuzot being torn down from door frames and swastikas sprayed on buildings to finding that denouncing Zionism is a litmus test for student government or participating in any social justice cause. These
students are asking why they hadn’t been prepared for the campus environment.Perhaps even more importantly, many do not know of all of the worthwhile organizations that are available to them to help create a more meaningful college experience, and that can assist them if they do experience a problem. We created Tribe Talk to address these issues and help our students feel empowered when they arrive on campus.
A Boston native, Judith (Jude) has been involved with the Boston Jewish community for over 30 years. Jude spent much of her professional career working in real estate development and management and had the privilege of working with her father and her sister as they managed the family real estate portfolio together for many years. Just prior to the birth of her second son, Jude decided to leave the family business and dedicate her time to raising her two children. This departure afforded her the opportunity to engage in myriad of organizations, non-profits, both of her son’s Jewish day schools, Temple Israel of Boston the family synagogue and to look after her aging parents.
Jude most recently served on the Executive Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropy (CJP) for a 3-year term as President of Women’s Philanthropy which just concluded in 2019. As immediate past President, Jude currently serves on the Women’s Philanthropy Executive Board. She served for over 15 years on the Executive Board of Jewish National Fund. She is an alum of the Jewish Federation of North American (JFNA) National Young Leadership Cabinet. Jude chaired JFNA/Washington Conference in 2004, the single largest gathering of young Jewish people uniting as Jews helping to repair the world and Jude is also an alum of the Leon and Cynthia Shulman Acharai Leadership Program founded in Boston. Jude is a community connector, dedicated volunteer and fundraiser.
Jude lives in Newton, MA with her wife Aviva and their two sons. Her youngest is in 11th grade and her eldest is a freshman at the University of Vermont.
Why TRIBE TALK CONNECTION?
I had the privilege of growing up in a religious Jewish home and along with my 4 siblings attended Jewish day school. I learned from my parents the importance of having a strong Jewish identity rooted in Jewish values and in reinvesting in the community. To that end, my wife and I too have worked hard to instill the importance of these same values and have sent our kids to Jewish day schools and Jewish summer camps. We have taken and sent them on trips to Israel and educated them on the importance of what it means to have a strong Jewish identity that they can be proud of as they grow up and lead their adult lives. Even with all these educational and learning opportunities our kids have been afforded the world has become even more complex and challenging to navigate for Jews today! During our fact finding before launching Tribe Talk Connection, we discovered that many students with similar educational backgrounds as our sons shared they too wanted to understand the more nuanced perspective on what it means to be Jewish in the ever growing complex world today. Our goal is to provide the resources in which to help our rising college students gain the knowledge, insight and understanding that they seek to lead a more fulfilling and enriched Jewish life on campus and beyond.
OUR KEY ADVISORS
Naomi is the Founding Executive Director of The Good People Fund which she co-founded in 2008 after more than 10 years as the Managing Director of the Ziv Tzedakah Fund. Her diverse background as a high school history teacher, kosher caterer and small business entrepreneur have prepared her well for the many hats she wears as GPF’s chief executive. One of her greatest joys while running GPF is mentoring new programs, started by creative visionaries and dedicated to tikkun olam. She has drawn on her own extensive business and non-profit experience to help grantees build successful non-profit organizations.
DR. RACHEL FISH
Dr. Rachel Fish is founding Executive Director of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, established the foundation to catalyze dynamic new solutions to stop the age-old hatred advanced by those who seek the elimination of Judaism and the Jewish people and the modern movement to destroy the world’s only Jewish State. The foundation focuses on positively impacting attitudes of young people around the world, leveraging social media to deliver educational campaigns and spur action by people of all backgrounds. Fish was most recently Senior Advisor and Resident Scholar of Jewish/Israel Philanthropy at the Paul E. Singer Foundation in New York City. She worked closely with grantees to support them and provided framing around their educational content and programming. She also aided in developing strategy for the Foundation’s Jewish/Israel philanthropy. Fish was also the Executive Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University where she helped train the next generation of academics in the field of Israel Studies. She has taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, UMASS Amherst and in adult Jewish education programs. In 2015 Fish held the Rohr Visiting Professorship at Harvard University, where she lectured on modern Israel and received the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence. She is co-editor, with Ilan Troen, of the book Essential Israel: Essays for the Twenty-First Century.
Brett Lubarsky is Director, Jewish Teen Initiative at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a national model for Jewish teen engagement helping to connect, empower and inspire teens and professionals throughout the Greater Boston community. Prior to joining CJP, Lubarsky was associate director of Jewish Teen Initiative of Greater Boston where he directed the Peer Leadership Fellows program, a relationship-driven peer engagement model that has been adapted around the country. He has been creating moments, spaces and systems of meaning and connection for Jewish youth, emerging adults and professionals for more than 18 years, working extensively with congregations, summer camps, and organizations throughout the country. Lubarsky is a graduate of the M2 Senior Educators Cohort with M²: the Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, the Generation Now Fellowship with The Jewish Education Project and Jim Joseph Foundation, and is a Birthright Israel Fellow.