Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is planning the third installment of its TribeFest young leadership conference for 2014, giving the Las Vegas confab a year off after successful events this year and last year.
The umbrella group for American Jewish philathropy is instead planning a smaller, low-key young leadeship conference this March in Dallas, to include several hundred TribeFest alumni.
“The goal is to move people from engagement to leadership,” said JFNA spokesman Joe Berkofsky. “We want people to go back to their communities and build on their initial experiences at TribeFest.” He said the organization’s young leadership focus will likely alternate between the large-scale, open TribeFest gatherings and smaller gatherings with select participants now that the brand has been established.
“One of the things we were able to do was build participation from 1,200 to 1,500, and many of them had never been at a local or national federation event before,” said Berkofsky. “We also went from 50 partner organizations the first year to 92 the second year.”
He said 60 percent of participants at the first event and 30 percent at the second had never before attended a national federation-related program. About 20 percent of this year’s participants attended the first TribeFest.
The three-day events at the Mandalay Bay Resort in 2011 and the Venetian Resort Hotel casino this year were a mix of daytime discussions on pressing issues facing the Jewish world and evening concerts, comedy and ample opportunity for socializing. TribeFest aspires to keep its participants involved in Jewish life through local reunions and other events throughout the year.
The TribeFest home page informs fans that the program will be back in 2014 and in the meantime urges young people to attend events in their cities. Berkofsky said funding was not a factor in the decision since both Tribfests broke even. Participants are responsible for their accomodations and a conference fee; JFNA and cosponsors cover the remaining costs. Many local federations subsidized the cost for participants in their area.
Noteworthy participants have included former Saturday Night Live player Rachel Dratch, TV star Mayim Bialik, NFL team owners Mark Wilf and Jonathan Kraft, poet and performance artist Vanessa Hidary and comedian Joel Chasnoff.