Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Bay Area Birthright Israel Next: The Re-Launch of the Bay Area Tribe

Posted by Oyster on September 9, 2008

Oyster recently had the pleasure of catching up with Eli Raber, the Director of Birthright Israel NEXT San Francisco (nee, the Bay Area Tribe).

Eli Raber has been able to join Birthright Israel NEXT as the San Francisco Director, leaving behind his work in the corporate world and now being able to focus 100% of his time on Bay Area Tribe and Birthright Israel NEXT in San Francisco.

Oyster: So, aside from the snazzy new moniker, what does this change translate to?

We just moved into a new place which will serve both as a very cool and funky event space, a place to do Taglit-Birthright Israel trip orientations, and a place to have one-on-one meetings with Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni and Bay Area Tribe members.

We used to put on 1-2 events per month on a very modest budget, and it was me working to exhaustion to do it, while working 50 hours a week as a legal recruiter, relying on generous volunteers who would donate their time and energy. NOW, I can concentrate solely on this AND we’re bringing on five Birthright Israel NEXT Fellows who will do most of the event planning and build out our program so we have something happening almost once a week.

The Fellows will concentrate on 20-30 person events, maybe a wine tasting class, a hike, art projects, weekend camping trip, discussion series, LGBT group, Russian speakers events, and so forth. They basically have free reign to plan any event and help shape the community they think our members will enjoy. This is meant to be a peer-driven community building effort.

Oyster: Wow, paid staff! Always a plus. 🙂 With all of these Jewy hands making light work, what will you be doing?

I will direct these Fellows and concentrate on our major event during the year such as our Napa Wine Tour, Hanukkah Party, Salsa Dancing. I will also meet with members and to make sure we are meeting their needs and to help further a sense of community.

Our Fellows will come online likely in September, and we are looking to have a “re-launch” party at our new space and unveil the expanded event schedule and new and improved Bay Area Tribe & Birthright Israel NEXT San Francisco some time in October.

Oyster: One of the reasons that I kvell about the Bay Area Tribe is the fact that (aside that I grew up with some of the founders) it’s a completely grass-roots organization that was created from the bottom-up from outside the Jewish establishment (reminds me of some blogs that I know…). Will your strategic partnership with Birthright Israel affect that spirit?

One of our chief focuses during this expansion will be retaining that uniqueness of Bay Area Tribe, keeping true to what has made us one of, if not the, most popular young adult group in the Bay Area. We remain committed to always putting on interactive events, keeping it non- ‘meat markety’, with an emphasis on making first-timers feel welcome and be accepting and open to all.

Even with me being full time and the 5 Fellows, Bay Area Tribe & Birthright Israel NEXT San Francisco remains dedicated to utilizing volunteers, staying true to the practice of anyone can plan an event, and become a leader in the group. All inquries are more than welcome.

As mentioned, part of my role is to be connected with members, and I’d like to set up coffee dates or chats over appetizers with anyone interested in hearing more about the group, or finding out how they can get involved. The invitation is open, so anyone interested please contact me.

Our re-laucnh party will likely be in October, but we have two MAJOR events we are planning right now:

Sunday, Septmber 21 – Jewish National Fund, Birthright Israel NEXT SF and Bay Area Tribe are teaming up for ECO FARM NIGHT
– Tour of working Organic Farm, run by fellow Tribe member David Retsky. Who was recently featured in 7X7 magazine for his County Line Harvest Farm serving Organic Produce to many top San Francisco restaurants.
– Wine and Beer Tasting
-Students from the Arava Institute in Israel will speak about Organic Farming, sustainability and environmental cooperation towards peace in Israel.
-Then we will dine on banquet tables set up in the fields as a chef will prepare dinner for everyone will fresh produce from the farm.

Co-sponosred by Eco Jews of the Bay (Bay Area Hazon)

Saturday, December 27- Birthright Israel NEXT with Bay Area Tribe and the Bill Graham Foundation are putting on this years best Hanukkah Party!

At the Mezanine club in San Francisco, with TAINTED LOVE as the headliner. More details to follow….

Oyster: As any self-respecting muck-raker must ask, who’s footing the bill for all this?

Well, I’d like to thank the Jim Joseph Foundation for making this expansion of the Bay Area Tribe and Birthright Israel NEXT possible. And also all of you who have come to Bay Area Tribe events, who have supported us and who have believed in us. Your support and your attendance has made the program into what it has become and has allowed us to expand to better serve the young adult Jewish community in the Bay.


2 Responses to “Bay Area Birthright Israel Next: The Re-Launch of the Bay Area Tribe”

  1. suzanne bino said

    ,,,hey eli
    baci from here in roma

  2. suzanne bino said

    absolutely great

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