Tribe 12, a nonprofit geared toward Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s throughout Greater Philadelphia, is known for its happy hours and large get-togethers, but over the past few months the organization has shifted to hosting smaller events with increased frequency.
Those new events include a board game night and a women’s mahjong group, along with LGBTQ programing and additional professional development.
It’s something Ross Weisman, Tribe 12’s engagement associate, said he hopes will attract a different kind of crowd. These other events usually garner just 10 to 15 people, but allow for what he described as a more intimate, one-on-one experience. They engage people who are discouraged by large crowds or aren’t inter
ested in a night out drinking.
“It’s a general trend of trying to have more intimate and small experiences rather than overwhelmingly large ones all the time,” Weisman said. “Even though I love running these big events and saying hi to a bunch of people, it’s a lot more warm and friendly- feeling sometimes to just have 10 people in a room.”
Weisman said the organization is open to ideas and feedback for potential events and aims to adapt to the needs of the community. Ideas include hosting a creative writing workshop, cooking classes and events specifically targeting people in their 30s.
Rory Michelle Sullivan, a singer-songwriter and 2018 Tribe 12 Fellow, has enjoyed the smaller events. She moved to Philadelphia a little over a year ago from Long Island, New York. Sullivan has attended Tribe 12’s happy hours, but also got the chance to go to a Tribe 12 wine and cheese night. She said it was nice to chat and hang out with the 20 or so people her age.
Another recently established Tribe 12 event Sullivan enjoys is the Shtetl Skills program, a series of workshops created in the aftermath of the Jewish Farm School closing. In the future, she looks forward to a murder mystery night.
“They’re way more my speed,” Sullivan said of the intimate gatherings.
In addition to expanding its programming, Tribe 12 has gotten into the podcast game.
“Just the Jew of Us” premiered in October with co-hosts Weisman and Elyssa Epstein discussing various Jewish topics and answering questions people might have.
“We’re both Jewish, we’re both in our 20s and it’s just us teaching each other about different aspects of Judaism,” Weisman said. “The whole idea of it is that we’re not experts, by any means; we’re going and diving into these topics out of curiosity.”
Weisman first got into podcasts during his junior year of college. His personal podcast, “Kidflix with Ross Weisman,” has him and a friend review and dissect children’s movies for comedy. Earlier this month, a live abbreviated version of “Just the Jew of Us” was conducted at the D.C. PodFest in Washington, D.C.
A new episode of the podcast is released every two weeks and can be found online on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Future episodes include the history of Dov Behr Manischewitz and the “classic game of Jewish geography” and how it can exclude people who aren’t Ashkenazi.
“I’m hoping the podcast can become a tool for Jews that are curious about their culture, but also for non-Jews that have questions and want to get a CliffsNotes version,” Weisman said.
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