CONNECT. EXPLORE. CELEBRATE.
" The Jewish
A performer on the
main stage at TribeFest
Detroiters make a great showing at national young adult event.
Special to the Jewish News
ulie Marx, 32, of Bloomfield
Hills attended TribeFest, her
first national Federation event,
to meet new people from around the
country and show off her Detroit spirit.
Having lived in Los Angeles for four years
and New York City for three, she moved
back to Michigan in 2007, drawn by her
family and friends and a greater sense of
Surrounded by nearly 1,300 young Jews
ages 22-45 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in
Las Vegas March 6-8, she said she couldn't
be happier to be one of 33 Detroiters rep-
resenting her hometown.
"I have such pride in being a Detroiter:'
she said last week. "We have such a strong
Federation. All of us here are so pumped."
There also was pride that fellow
Detroiter Robb Lippitt of Bloomfield
Hills was a co-chair of the national event.
Lippitt helped come up with the TribeFest
concept, designed to allow young Jews
to connect, explore and celebrate the
richness of Jewish music, food, arts and
March 17 2011
Previously, the Jewish Federations of
North America, the umbrella organization
for local federations, held annual young
leadership conferences in Washington,
Marx spoke of the energy and enthusi-
asm of this first TribeFest; she also looked
forward to sharing ideas from the confer-
ence back in Detroit.
"I think TribeFest speaks volumes for
young people wanting to be involved in
their communities, wanting to be involved
nationally," she said. "It's just great that
people could take a few days out of their
busy schedules to come and be part of
something so big."
The event opened with words from
actress Mayim Bialik, "Hebrew Mamita"
performance artist Vanessa Hidary, U.S.
Rep. Debbie Schultz (D-Fla.) and author
Bialik spoke about the framework
Judaism provides for her family, "fall-
ing in love" with Israel and the role
Federation has played in her life.
"It was Federation programs that really
solidified my Jewish identity when many
of you were watching me grow up on tele-
vision, and you were growing up as well,"
She also spoke of growing up with two
sets of dishes, about tikkun olam (repair-
ing the world) and about Judaism as a
"tribe of cumulative acts!'
Detroiters On Deck
The Detroit contingent watched the
speakers from a row in the front, clad in
matching black T-shirts with the hall-
mark "Detroit D" on the front and the slo-
gan "Imported from Detroit" on the back.
Rumored to be one of the larger
groups at the event, they were repeatedly
approached by former Detroiters who
congratulated them on their showing and
also by fans of the shirts, who wanted to
find out where to buy one.
Detroiters filtered in and out of after-
noon sessions that ranged from a game of
Jewpardy to discussions about interfaith
issues and Jewish education. They wan-
dered a resource fair featuring informa-
tion about various Jewish organizations,
and they gathered for the Sunday Night
Mash-Up, a concert featuring violinist
Miri Ben Ari, Soulico, Y-Love and Diwon.
And that was just the beginning.
Unlike past Federation young leader-
ship conferences, TribeFest featured 44
non-Federation partner organizations,
said co-chair Lippitt.
"It's just realizing there are so many
ways to give back to the community:' he
said, speaking about the importance of
helping young Detroiters find their roots
and develop and strengthen meaningful
ties to the community through various
He said he was proud to see Detroit
show off its leadership at the event.
Among those highlighted dur-
ing TribeFest activities were Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit CEO
Scott Kaufman, Detroit Federation's Young
Adult Division Campaign co-chair Rachel
Wright, fitness instructor Nikki Fayne and
David Kramer, TribeFest's follow-up pro-
Fayne of Farmington Hills was up
bright and early Monday morning, teach-
ing an 8 a.m. yoga class to a room packed
with people who had somehow made it
out of bed on time to attend. By 10 a.m.,
word had spread about the class' success
as Detroiters gathered for a main stage
There wasn't a dry eye in the room as
Alina Gerlovin Spaulding of Seattle told
the story of how the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee brought her
family to the United States from Russia
when her father, an Olympic hopeful,
broke his leg and was in dire need of