Let's Hope That What Happens in Vegas, Doesn't Stay in Vegas

More than 1200 young Jews attended this year's Tribefest 2011.

Published: March 10th 2011
in Culture » Society

Tribefest 2011

What happens in Vegas…just might change your life!”


So screamed the ad designed by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, advertising the just completed Tribefest 2011, held in the Nevada city, a rebranded annual convention for members of the Young Leadership Divisions of the Jewish Federations of North America.


More than 1,200 young Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s – including an enthusiastic group of Group of 55 Canadians, including 30 from Toronto – made their way to the gambling mecca for three days of lectures, workshops, as well as some unique entertainment and inspiring performances ranging from Jewish art to the 2012 U.S. elections to how to make a proper “L’chaim!”


The first step in a new outreach strategy for the national federation system, Tribefest welcomed any young Jew who wanted to be “entertained and educated” about Israel and the Jewish world, whether they were affiliated or not. 


And, according to Miriam Shuval, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto professional who accompanied the Toronto contingent, it was an effective strategy. “Tribefest lived up to its marketing slogan of being a place for young Jews to Connect, explore and celebrate the richness of Jewish music, food, arts & culture,” says Shuval. “Tribefest had something for everyone, and was designed to enable participants to explore their own personal connection to Judaism whether it be through hearing a new musical act, to listening to Jewish NFL owners discuss how they infuse Jewish values of caring for others into their teams, to dealing with inner-philosophical struggles such as how the community responds to interfaith families and whether you need to love Israel to be a good Jew. They contemplated all of these issues, all this while enjoying all Las Vegas had to offer.”


But, unlike the popular advertising campaign that states, “What Happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Shuval hopes that won’t apply to TribeFest participants. “I think it’s important that everyone takes the Tribefest experience home with them, using it as a springboard to expand upon their involvement in their communities.”

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