Tarnished And Trivialized


We are writing in response to Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “Back Off On The Bacchanalia” (April 1), which grossly misrepresents the appeal, mission and reality of TribeFest, the recent three-day conference in Las Vegas in which 1,300 North American Jews ages 22 to 45 discussed Jewish issues, explored their role in the community and engaged in Jewish life.

TribeFest featured 100 speakers — among them spiritual leaders, members of Congress, NFL team owners, writers and social entrepreneurs. There were musical performances by prominent, Grammy Award-winning Jewish artists. Lively, in-depth discussions emerged on important issues like what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century, connecting interfaith families, social action and advocating for Israel.

Rosenblatt’s cavalier column sidesteps the substance and boils the entire event and its appeal down to alcohol. On behalf of the many responsible participants with families and professional careers who came to TribeFest to connect with their Jewish heritage and community, we find this shallow and inaccurate portrayal of the event to be insulting and terribly unfair.

We won’t deny that TribeFest was fun. In fact, we have heard from hundreds of participants who were energized and inspired, and who returned to their communities eager to continue their Jewish journey. We won’t allow that lasting impact on the next generation of young Jews to be tarnished and trivialized. In trying to make his point, Rosenblatt has missed the point entirely.

Alice Viroslav
and Steven Scheck,

National Young Leadership
Co-Chairs, The Jewish Federations of North America

Robin Zappin

and Robb Lippitt,

TribeFest Co-Chairs

Alison Lebovitz
and Matthew Adler,

TribeFest Program Co-Chairs