Received an e-mail from The Desk of Paul Kane (who if he attended TribeFest, was the oldest one in the room -- uh, "mash pit"), JFNA's Senior Advisor to the President/CEO, on Tuesday announcing that the Festivus as a "...truly unprecedented and transformational event." On behalf of JFNA Paul reported: "Tribefest has exceeded even our expectations, generating intense buzz as a pivotal shift in how we create new Jewish touchpoints (Trust me, Kane did not write this) to engage a much broader group of younger Jews and -- ultimately -- build our community."
I was most taken, in Paul's applause, with the Las Vegas Chair's shout-out to "... the assembled, to huge cheers, 'We are the future of the Jewish world." Echoes James Cameron. Less cynical folks than I (and that may be almost anyone)present sensed the great ruach and the seats filled with young enthusiastic men and women. That is worthy of some congratulations.
I received this e-mail from inside the Fest: "I have snuck into the Fest. Like everyone else I have my head down as I Tweet madly trying to keep up with the guy with the grey hair and a kippah. He's typing so madly his thumbs are a blur. My fiend -- who is in the "emergency care" line, points his casted hands toward the grey-haired guy, and in reverent tones, he whispered in awe: 'That's Daroff. He's the Prince of Twitters.'" Wow, I thought, this must be a transformational event if Daroff, Prince of the Twitters, is here."
Yes, TribeFest could have been a portal of entry into any part of the Jewish world. But, and I doubt that JFNA, in the orgy of self-congratulations is now engaged, will bother itself with either of the following: intended for the "unaffiliated," as the JTA reported, "an informal survey of participants revealed...[E]leven of the 12 attendees interviewed by JTA reported that they already are active members and donors in their local federations." This should be no surprise given the subsidies encouraged by JFNA of the federations, should it?
Then compare and contrast with this: MASA, the wonderful semester in Israel program for Jewish college students, announced that, on the same day on which Festivus began, that 500 students began an extensive Mission in Israel in a MASA Intensive Leadership Program. That's 500 serious young men and women in Israel chosen from 10,000 for more than a three day "transformational" experience in Las Vegas. The MASA Building Future Program "partners" with AVI CHAIL, Hillel, Israel on Campus Coalition, PresenTense and the ubiquitous "we're everywhere" JFNA. Yes, compare and contrast.
Over at 25 Broadway, as I predicted on these pages days and weeks ago, the patting of their own backs is in full swing. Wow, what an occasion. Let's do it again, just like Jewlicious does, and make it an annual event. After all, unlike the MASA participants or those engaged in serious communal work through federations' leadership development programs, the Festivus participants "...are the future of the Jewish world."