Antisemitism on college campuses is rising at an alarming rate and young adults are ill equipped to manage the challenges they may face. Most are unaware of organizations on campus that engage in Jewish life. In response, TribeTalk provides resources for high school seniors so they can research and compare Jewish life on multiple college campuses. In addition, TribeTalk produces insightful webinars and podcasts that present different experience of Jewish life on campus as well as in-depth discussions on relevant issues.
TribeTalk empowers students to find a meaningful Jewish life on campus, navigate any challenges they may face and feel confident in their Jewish identity through their college years and beyond.
Who we are
TribeTalk is an information hub for Jewish young adults and their parents designed to provide information, education and campus connections to help students make informed choices about the college they select and learn about meaningful ways to engage and connect on their future college campus. TribeTalk empowers students to navigate any challenges they may face related to antisemitism or anti-Zionism, and feel confident in their Jewish identity through their college years and beyond.
How we do it
- Work collaboratively with partner organizations across the teen, campus and Jewish communal landscape to serve as a central resource aggregating content onto one online platform.
- Assist students in the college process by providing a Jewish lens on campus search and selection.
- Provide an overview of the myriad organizations that exist on campus to help students find and create meaningful connections to Jewish life on campus
- Highlight first hand accounts of current student stories.
- Provide education and resources to help students gain a deeper understanding and awareness of current forms of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.
Michelle 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 management, 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?
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 is an attorney and Jewish community leader. As a dedicated community volunteer, Robin works with national and local Jewish communal organizations. She volunteers with Stand With Us, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. She is a former Board member of the Donna Klein Jewish Academy, as well as a past PTO co-President. She has co-chaired the Spirit and Spice series for the Federation of South Palm Beach County, 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 concentrated her legal practice in employment law, dealing with issues involving sexual harassment and discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, and national origin. She currently engages solely in pro bono work, most recently representing victims of domestic violence seeking restraining orders. She is a recipient of the Volunteer Lawyers Project Award. She has been published by the Boston Business Journal and quoted by the Boston Globe, and has lectured on the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination laws, and sexual harassment.
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. Thesestudents 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.
Judith T. Sydney
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 sister as they managed the family real estate portfolio. Jude decided to leave the family business when her second son was born and dedicated her time to raising her two children. This 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 care for her aging parents.
Jude currently serves on the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) National Women’s Philanthropy Board and most recently served on the Executive Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropy (CJP) as President of Women’s Philanthropy. 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 convening to repair the world. 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 and their 2 sons.
I had the privilege of growing up in a modern orthodox 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 have worked hard to instill the importance of these same values with our sons and have sent them 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 TribeTalk, 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 that has become more toxic toward Jews. Our goal is to provide the resources in which to help our students gain the knowledge, insight and understanding that they seek to lead a more fulfilling and enriched life as proud Jewish students on campus and beyond.
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 the co-founder of Boundless, a think-action tank partnering with community leaders to revitalize Israel education and take bold collective action to combat Jew hatred. Dr. Fish was the executive director of the Foundation to Combat anti-Semitism. She also served as senior advisor and resident scholar at the Paul E. Singer Foundation in New York City and executive director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. In her role at Brandeis, she trained the next generation of academics in the field of Israel Studies.
“Configurations of Bi-nationalism: The Transformation of Bi-nationalism and Palestine/Israel 1920’s-Present,” on the history of bi-nationalism and alternative visions for constructing the State of Israel. Rachel has served on the faculty at Brandeis University, Harvard University, UMass Amherst, has written articles for several publications in the mainstream press and academic journals, and co-edited the book “Essential Israel: Essays for the 21st Century.” She is a frequent speaker in various Jewish community forums and beyond.
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.