22 November 2006
CHIEF RABBI PAYS TRIBUTE TO TRIBE FOR SECURING THE FUTURE OF BRITISH JEWRY
At the 2006 TRIBE Gala Dinner last night, the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, paid tribute to TRIBE, Young United Synagogue, for its pioneering work in ensuring that the next generation of US members play an active and fulfilling role in the community. The Chief Rabbi also made a presentation to 17-year-old Esther Marshall, who last month became Tribe’s 10,000th member, making TRIBE by far the largest Jewish organisation for young people in the country.
During the evening, Rabbi Andrew Shaw, Executive Director of TRIBE, gave an insight into the organisation’s work and Sasha Stock, a 15-year-old member, spoke about her increasingly active role in the US following her introduction to TRIBE. The money raised from the gala dinner will be used to support TRIBE and its activities throughout every US community.
In his speech to guests, the Chief Rabbi referring to the development of the US over the last decade, commented: “We at the US realised that if we didn’t give our young people a positive Jewish experience, they wouldn’t continue the Jewish story. In the last few years, the number of Jewish children in Jewish day schools has increased by over 400% and we now send a higher percentage of our young people to Israel than any other Jewish community. I take incredible pride that our young people love Israel and will be great supporters of Israel in years to come.”
“One of the really great TRIBE projects is the ’60 Days for 60 Years’ booklet whereby we ask young people to spend 5 minutes a day for 60 days in memory of one of the victims of the Holocaust. That project has captured the imagination of the Jewish world and is being launched in Australia, Canada, America and South Africa. There are some areas, especially relating to young people, where we are leading the Jewish world.”
“Our children are crying out for a Judaism that is unafraid to meet the challenges of the day – that will make us proud and I believe that this is what the US community has been doing over the last few years.”
Rabbi Shaw, Executive Director of TRIBE, gave guests an insight into TRIBE’s work:
“In the past our communities have had to face the challenge of connecting with their young people by themselves. Some communities were able to but most were not. In the last few years TRIBE has succeeded in constructing a dynamic platform from which all our communities can benefit, giving us the ability to communicate with thousands of young Jews and their families from all over the United Kingdom.
“It is TRIBE’s mission from within the heart of the United Synagogue, to make our young people feel positive and excited about their Judaism, in a way which will secure their Jewish future. We are committed to achieving this, be it through working with our primary and secondary schools, with our members on their gap year in Israel or whilst they are on campus and especially through working in our communities, week in and week out.”
Sasha Stock, 15-year old member of TRIBE, who also spoke at the dinner commented: “I am not where I am to today because of one trip or one lecture or one person – I am where I am today because over the last 5 years my community along with Tribe have invested time and energy in me and many more like me to connect me to Judaism in ways I never thought possible. TRIBE’s uniqueness is that it interacts with us all through our childhood and teenage lives – and I hugely grateful for that.”
Guests also welcomed the wife of kidnapped Israeli soldier, Ehud Goldwasser, who spoke of her appreciation for the support she had received from the United Synagogue’s communities since her husband was captured. She asked that US members send emails to the Secretary General of the United Nations, President of the European Union and President of the Red Cross demonstrating their support and asking for a sign of life from the captured soldiers.
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TRIBE, Young United Synagogue was launched in February 2003 under the leadership of Rabbi Andrew Shaw, with the Tribe membership scheme launched the following October. TRIBE’S goal is to support its communities to provide the best resources and facilities for its young people and to run complementary larger events and initiatives to support the work done at local level.
TRIBE membership is divided into 4 divisions, kids, teen, campus and community. Tribe’s original target was to have 5,000 members by 2008. In October 2006 TRIBE signed up its 10,000th member.
For the 3,000 TRIBE Kids members, activities are offered in US primary schools. The newest venture for Tribe Kids has been the launch of its first TRIBE After School Club at Wolfson Hillel Primary School with over 300 pupils participating in classes which include sports, arts and craft, dance, jewellery and chess.
TRIBE Teens has just over 4,000 members. One of the major roles of TRIBE Teens is to support its 25 youth directors at synagogues across the community. Tribe’s commitment to this has seen the appointment of their first TRIBE fieldworker who offers a range of activities to synagogues along with ‘off the shelf programmes’ include SMILE, an educational programme, and plays, such as Haim Potter plus TRIBE’S annual Bnei Mitzvah Weekend and Football Frenzy. TRIBE Teens has also seen their 6th Form Campus preparation programme expand to include JFS, King Solomon and King David in Manchester reaching 1,500 students.
With nearly 2,000 members, TRIBE Campus has expanded with 7 Campus Ambassadors in Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester and Scotland with plans for Ambassadors in Bristol and Nottingham in early 2007. TRIBE Israel, a subdivision of Tribe Campus, continues to build on its success supporting some 200 TRIBE members on their Gap Year in addition to organising a welcome barbeque, Israel Shabbaton and Tribe Israel Leadership Training (TILT) programme.
TRIBE Community is targeted at singles aged 21-30 to become members of their local US synagogue through a discounted membership of £60 a year that includes additional lifestyle benefits. This membership is commonly known as TCM. TCM is still in its early stages of development that has seen it endorse three young minyanim that run within the US community.
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