TribeFest Via Social Media | Detroit JN News

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April 5, 2012 by Benji

 This Article was originality posted on the Detroit Jewish News Website

If you are under 40, in North America, active in the Jewish community and affiliated with any Federation agencies, then you were probably either at TribeFest or know someone who went. I fall into the second category. For the last two years that TribeFest has been happening in Vegas, I have been watching from the sidelines. Work, family and life have kept me away. But thanks to social media, I have been able to watch, learn and get inspired in snippets without having to be there. I will leave the “Detroit Represents” rah-rah and a description of the actual events to the bloggers who were there.

My amazement is with the real-time ability to see and experience what happened. Of the 85 Detroiters at TribeFest, I only knew a quarter or so. Most of those are pretty heavy Facebook users, so I was immediately seeing pictures and posts leading up to the event. Many of them are Twitter users, and so I quickly created streams on HootSuite for #TribeFest and #TribeFest detroit. There is no reasonable way to say that it was like experiencing TribeFest live because it wasn’t. But one post at a time, I was able to follow along and stay in the loop.

One great example was seeing the tweets about Jonny Imerman and Imerman Angels. People were raving about his speech. Like any good web surfer, I Googled it. What an amazing story! Cancer survivors raising money to help support other cancer survivors. I was moved and wasn’t even there.

Another very cool thing to watch unfold was the PJ Library story. TribeFest members went out and brought books to local kids. There was a news story done about it on the local Vegas news. As a parent who receives monthly Jewish books from PJL, I was thrilled to see them getting local and national attention.

Some great videos recapping the daily events were recorded and produced by Federation’s Bryan Fenster. Again, not the same as being there, but a great way to document and show what was happening. Also, a fantastic tribute to the hard work and dedication that Rachel Wright put into being the co-chair of the event was the hashtag that was created #ThousandRachelMarch. Man, do I wish I was “in on the joke.”

One very interesting topic I am looking forward to discussing with my friends who were there is the LGBT and interfaith conversations that happened. From the tweets, I was able to see there were conversations surrounding the issue and the question is: Is there a place in the room for the LGBT and interfaith communities at TribeFest? I would hope so, but I need to talk to the people who were there to get the real scoop.

Here are some of the Detroiters who posted from TribeFest:

• Jason Miller @rabbiJason (local conservative Rabbi, president at Access Technologies)

• Rachel Lachover @RachelLachover (associate director at CommunityNEXT)

• Sarah Bloomberg @sdbloomberg (PR agent at PublicCityPR)

• Lea Bold @lboldnbeau (leasing agent at Taubman)

• Bryan Fenster @BryanFenster (online content and media strategist at JFMD)

• Miryam Rosenzweig @Miryamr (director NEXTGen of JFMD)

… among others. This is not even close to a complete list, just some that I am connected with. I also got to see other fantastic people in the larger Jewish community, some of which I knew, others I was introduced to through the twitter stream:

• William Daroff @Daroff (VP for public policy and director of the Washington Office of JFNA)

• Chaviva G. @kvetchingeditor (editor blogger from Colorado)

• Erez Sarfar @Diwon (music producer)

• David Levy @itsDLevy (editor of

… And many other people who I’m connecting(ed) with all over the country. I’ll have to wait and see if I can get to TribeFest next year. But I was looking forward to having my sister Miryam fill me in on all the events and inside jokes!

Read Benji’s blog at

via TribeFest Via Social Media | JN News.

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