You Should Know: Dann Lynch

Dann Lynch. Courtesy of Dann Lynch

Ellen Braunstein

Dann Lynch is the diversity, equity and inclusion and social justice organizer for Tribe 12, a nonprofit that connects people in their 20s and 30s to Jewish life in Philadelphia.

Lynch joined the organization 18 months ago. In their current role, they create initiatives that promote equal access and a sense of belonging for people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders and sexual orientations.

“We make sure that we are building a welcoming space for anyone who identifies as Jewish or is Jewish curious here in the Greater Philadelphia area,” said Lynch, who lives in Brewerytown in North Philadelphia.

Lynch identifies as queer and a Jew of color. They belong to the Reconstructionist synagogue Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia.

Before joining Tribe 12, Lynch was a DEI consultant for seven years. They would go into organizations and businesses and do DEI work but on a short-term basis.
Lynch, who is in their late 20s, is in graduate school at Goddard College, working toward an interdisciplinary degree with a focus on decolonial arts.

“I have been incredibly lucky to be able to work in a space where I’m allowed to connect with people on my own terms in my own community while also being part of a university that allows this freedom,” they said.

Lynch attended Columbia College in Chicago, where they received a Bachelor of Arts in musical theater.

Originally from Detroit, Lynch grew up in a Conservative Jewish household. Lynch’s mother is Jewish.

“I struggled to find myself as a young, queer, Jew of color, existing in a world that oftentimes feels like it was not made for us,” Lynch said.

“There’s a lot of explaining that has to happen. We are Jewish. We have a place in the community, and sometimes it feels like we have to fight a little bit for those things,” Lynch said. “It’s not always easy, but I find, especially as an advocate, my work makes it a fight worth having because there are people who deserve to have space in these communities.”
With Hebrew being a gendered language, Lynch said they value the people who are working to properly represent nonbinary people in Hebrew.

“We want to be an inclusive world,” they said.

Their hobbies are playing fantasy tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.

For similar reasons, they like reading historical fiction.

“I like taking a particular period of history and creating a world that is very much aligned with real life but is distinctly fiction,” Lynch said.

Lynch is single and feels “incredibly lucky to have a supportive and loving friend group who support me and care for me in a way that allows me to be able to be single but also have community.”

Lynch is involved with Jews in ALL Hues, an organization led by Jews of color and multi-heritage Jews.

Lynch also volunteers for the Jewish Relief Agency, a nonprofit organization that helps relieve hunger for more than 6,400 low-income people in greater Philadelphia.

“I like their methodology of delivering the food and not just being a food pantry open for limited hours for pick up. It can be one of the biggest barriers when it comes to food inequity,” they said. “Specifically, by having that food delivered, they are fulfilling some of the greatest mitzvahs that we can do about caring for each other.”

What they love about the Philadelphia Jewish community is the diversity.

“I was honestly surprised by how many young Jewish professionals were here,” they said. “Being immersed and surrounded by Jewish friends and culture is intensely important and something that Philadelphia does really well.”

Ellen Braunstein is a freelance writer.


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