On Thursday, February 28, at 8 p.m., a new Jewish organization was born in Hudson County. Its name is Tribe: Jersey City and Hoboken.
There was a celebration at the Tribe’s launch; 38 young Jews, ranging from their 20s to their early 40s, showed up for what organizers called the “Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Night.” Participants sampled an assortment of kosher wines and were able to pair them with their choice of kosher cheeses and chocolates. The launch celebration was held at Symposia, a local non-profit bookstore in Hoboken’s main commercial center and artery, Washington Street. “We decided that as the people of the book, we should do our first event surrounded by books,” Tribe board member Lauren Braun of Jersey City said. “It was a great success.”
The evening featured Rachel Sherman, field manager of One Table, a national organization that facilitates Shabbat dinners run out of hosts’ homes across the country. Ms. Sherman talked about the opportunities the non-profit One Table provides for Jews between 21 and 39 to host Shabbat dinners for their friends and community with organizational support, including financial reimbursement and lessons on best practices for first-time Shabbat dinner organizers.
Tribe board members made announcements about upcoming events in the Jewish community, which include Shabbat dinners, the annual United Synagogue of Hoboken’s Casino Night (which is held at the Hoboken Elks Club), and the next Tribe gathering — a build-your-own-terrarium party on March 31. Community members can find more information at the Tribe’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/TRIBEHOBOKENJC.
Gabby Becker, 28, who grew up in upstate New York, lives in Hoboken and works in network operations for a charter school group. She is one of Tribe’s founding board member. Ms. Becker was the driving force behind organizing the launch party. “Being involved in the Jewish community is really important to me, and I love to plan events,” she said. “Being a part of the board has been a great opportunity to volunteer in our community and meet new people.
“Tribe is 100 percent run by volunteers from our community, to create opportunities to connect with others within our community,” she continued. “Events have a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for young Jews to meet each other and celebrate being Jewish together.”
Melissa Sandler lives in Hoboken and is a member of the board of trustees of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. She also is a member of the Tribe’s board, and she was at the launch. She feels a “moral imperative” to engage in building Jewish life, she said; the need to do so is “something that comes from the soul.” Why does she and her fellow board members feel that it’s important for them to work to engage other young Hudson County Jews in building Jewish community? Because Hillel got it right, she said. “If not me, who?” she quoted the sage. “If not now, when?”
She loves being Jewish “because we have a shared destiny,” Ms. Sandler continued, and it’s “important that the Hoboken-Jersey City community remains a vibrant and awesome place to live a Jewish life.”
The party ended officially at 10 that evening but some stragglers remained at Symposia for another half hour, talking, sipping kosher wine, and snacking on what remained of the cheese and chocolate. Many snippets of conversations on future Tribe and other Jewish events in Hudson County were overheard. Because Symposia is a non-profit community bookstore, Tribe donated 30 used books to it. Participants were demonstrably excited about the next Tribe meeting, and about being members of this new tribe.