The Tribe 12 Fellowship is a leadership experience for individuals that are dedicated to personal growth, enriching communities, and making Judaism their own. Tribe 12 Fellows apply the tangible skills they learn and the network they build to create a capstone project of their own design: a new or existing business, nonprofit, community, or anything in between!
The 2023 Fellows and their ventures:
Sophia Barrett (She/Her)
Venture: Reconstructing Philanthropy
About the Venture: Exploring inclusivity in philanthropy. How can Reconstructionist values be applied to our culture of philanthropy to lower barriers and center inclusion? I want to examine how a donor-centric model can shift to include the egalitarian values that are so central to a Reconstructionist approach.
About Sophia: Sophia Barrett currently resides in South Philadelphia with her husband, dog, and two kitties. She serves as the Assistant Director of Individual Giving at Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement. Originally from South Florida, Sophia has been working in development and the arts for 10+ years. She earned her master’s degree in Theatre from Villanova in 2015 and has been working in the nonprofit sector since. Sophia dreams of settling on a piece of farmland with some animals to start a small nonprofit that combines pet therapy and artistic development. Sophia is most excited by progressive Judaism and all it has to offer the world.
Evan Brand (He/Him)
Venture: Hive76 (Existing Maker Space)
About the Venture: My venture is to help grow the resources and environment at Hive76, a maker space in North Philly.
About Evan: Evan is a community minded creator who looks to the greater world to see what opportunities they can apply themselves too. In general this usually comes in the form of collaborating with friends on projects or helping grow the local maker space. In his free time Evan enjoys working on 3D printing and laser cutter projects and the occasional board game night. His dream is to be able to continue growing, using what he learns to help uplift those around him to more and more interesting heights.
Rabbi Elyssa Cherney (She/Her)
About the Venture: TacklingTorah guides everyday people (Jews and those who love them) through significant life moments using a Jewish framework and education. Rabbi Elyssa believes holiness is created by helping people find meaning at moments of transition in their lives. Her goal is to make Judaism and holiness accessible to all as their spiritual guide. She works primarily with millennials, gen z and unaffiliated Jews.
About Rabbi Elyssa: Rabbi Elyssa Cherney created TacklingTorah, a non-profit to meet the needs of Jews and those who love them. Her mission is to serve (mainly but not exclusively) millennial couples and families in Philadelphia who wanted to mark time through rituals big and small. She believes that by helping others access these holy moments in their lives through powerful rituals they have the opportunity to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. Rabbi Elyssa began by engaging the Philadelphia Jewish community at pop-up style events or co-hosting with other local Jewish non-profits. Rabbi Elyssa also serves as a rabbi and spiritual guide with organizations 18Doors and Reconstructing Judaism’s RabbiConnect. She is driven to ensure all Jews have access to meaningful Jewish communities and learning. Rabbi Elyssa acts as a spiritual guide helping families navigate the joys and challenges of bringing different religious and/or cultural identities to the table. She is grateful to her partner Alan and kiddos Ava Jane and Zeke for supporting her in this work.
Dave Freedman (He/Him)
Venture: Elevated Film Productions
About the Venture: Combining my refined creative and architectural aesthetic, with hand-eye coordination honed through video games to find beautiful moments, and capture them through cinematic drone films. While largely entrepreneurial in spirit, I also want to help artists showcase their beauty, and I want viewers to slow down and appreciate the beautiful moments all around us.
About Dave: Dave Freedman has spent most of his life defying convention. Now he’s defying gravity with Elevated Film Productions: a drone-based full-service film studio. Always following his passions, he’s been on study abroad trips to Italy and Argentina, driven across the US to visit over 200 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, and even survived living in New York on an intern architect’s salary. After researching Foster + Partners in grad school, Dave applied to work there, and only there. Despite tough competition, he was hired to the team designing the New York Public Library, Comcast’s Technology Center, and Penn Medicine’s new Hospital. Now setting his sights physically higher, and combining his decade-plus refined architectural and creative aesthetic with hand-eye coordination honed through video games, he’s finding beautiful moments in architecture and beyond—bringing viewers along to see the world through his eyes, or rather, the drone’s lens.
Sarah Gordin (She/Her)
Venture: Philly Children’s Theatre
About the Venture: Philly Children’s Theatre has been created to provide pay-what-you-can, live, family-friendly theatre for children in Philadelphia. Adult performers will travel to the various Philly neighborhoods in order to increase access to the arts. Philly Children’s Theatre also has a big focus on accessibility to performances (providing social stories and American Sign Language translators) as well as a focus on creating sensory immersive performances specifically for children with disabilities, and their families. Philly Children’s Theatre wants to explore all that theatre for young audiences can be.
About Sarah: Sarah Gordin is a theatre director, producer, artistic director, and teacher. Sarah is interested in producing innovative theatre for young audiences work, and partnering with local Philadelphia organizations to increase access to the arts. Sarah would like to bring diverse voices, stories, and audiences to the forefront of the theatre scene and ensure that every young person can see live theatre productions in their neighborhoods. Sarah is a massive dreamer of big projects and works to make them happen through her theatre company, Philly Children’s Theatre (PCT). Sarah is excited to be in the stages of turning PCT into a non-profit and expanding programming. Her dream for Philly Children’s Theatre is for PCT to produce a full season of TYA (theatre for young audiences) theatre with a focus on sensory theatre, theatre for the very young, and new plays. Other things that excite Sarah include the moment when you are teaching and a kid has a lightbulb moment, reading historical fiction books, meeting different people passionate about the mission of PCT, embroidery, ice cream, traveling and new Taylor Swift music.
Lex Horowitz (They/Them)
Venture: Lex Horwitz Consulting *draft title*
About the Venture: I have been growing my LGBTQ+ education and consulting business as a one person operation since March of 2020 and am now seeking learning opportunities to further develop my leadership and business skills so that I can take my work to the next level. I hit the ground running, working gig to gig, and now need to take time to focus on, incorporate, and establish the foundations for my business. Next business steps for me include getting established as an LLC, developing contracts, protecting my intellectual property, and copyrighting my materials.
About Lex: Lex is a queer, non-binary transgender Jewish human. They are a passionate LGBTQ+ Educator, Consultant, and Public Speaker. An animal lover, cat enthusiast, athlete, nature being, city explorer, and life learner, Lex lives in Philadelphia with their two senior special needs fur babies, Saboo and Lady Tooth. They enjoy hiking, biking, and running in the Wissahickon, spending time with their chosen family, and dancing like nobody’s watching. Lex is almost always in motion (unless snuggling with their babies). Lex received their B.A. in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from Bowdoin College, where they competed on the Varsity Men’s Squash team and were the first openly transgender athlete to compete at Bowdoin and in collegiate squash history.
Alissa Kushner (She/Her)
Venture: Spanish language learning and community building *draft title*
About the Venture: My venture is intended to fill a gap that many intermediate language learners find – it’s hard to keep up your language skills if you don’t have constant and consistent practice opportunities. I will bring together a cohort of Spanish learners and native speakers that meets multiple times a week to practice while working toward a common goal at the end of each month-long cohort session.
About Alissa: Alissa is an engineer by day, an artist by night, and at all times simply a person trying to connect with the diverse people of the world. As a former digital nomad who now resides in Philly, she aims to use her experience to bring the best parts of herself and her travel back home.
Yigdal Raphael (He/Him)
Venture: YR Glass Art
About the Venture: I want to teach the craft and share glass with everyone, and I know what it is like to be a young person struggling to find your identity in the world. I know when I first encountered the maker side of glass, I felt renewed sensations of wonder and hope and excitement for the opportunities ahead of me in creation and building community. I think if I am able to share glass with young impressionable minds and even one single person feels strong enough interest to want to seek out the medium on his/her/their own…then I will have succeeded at my goal of sharing my love of glass.
About Yigdal: Yigdal Raphael is a glass artist based out of Philadelphia, PA. Raised in a Jewish home as the son of two rabbis, he has always been involved with the Jewish community in some way. After years in day school, attending/working at overnight camp, and volunteering at Hillel, he still seeks his own voice in the conversation in effort to feel a stronger personal connection. Yigdal is an avid sports fan and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication from Indiana University…but is most passionate about sharing glass with the world! His favorite activities include traveling and trying new foods when he’s not spending long days and nights melting glass in his private studio in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Brett Richman (He/Him)
Venture: Adaptable Leadership Development *draft title*
About the Venture: I want to develop a scalable leadership training program, that can be applied at the beginning, middle or end of a process. Scalable is in terms of both scope (amount of people, age, etc.) and about how I want it to evolve. It can’t be a singular unchanging curriculum, it needs to be tailored and adapted to the individual needs of whoever it is serving.
About Brett: Brett returned to Philadelphia in early 2022 with no plans to leave, this is his home. Besides his family being here, two siblings, two nieces and a puppy nephew, it’s also where he sees his future and life settling in. Brett spends his time prioritizing his health (both physical and mental) and satisfying all of his nerdy tendencies. Those tendencies include, but are not limited to, TV/movies, pop culture, anime, comic books, food/coffee/beer, and of course Philadelphia sports (for better or worse, including the Temple Owls). He hopes to continue settling into Philadelphia, eventually meeting someone and laying down roots here as he enters that next phase of life. Professional, Brett has spent his career working with people-serving Jewish agencies, and looks to continue that work, focusing on leadership and program development, long-term planning, and organizational stability.
Jamey Roberti (He/Him)
Venture: Time Goes Crazy- (A Hip-Hop album)
About the Venture: The project is the completion of the writing for and recording of my ten-song album “Time Goes Crazy”, as well as its marketing and filming of a video. This album is my life story and is not limited to stories of romance and heartbreak, being poor, growing up as a cultural Jew in a working-class Christian area, mental illness, and more.
About Jamey: Jamey Roberti is a human resources professional who is known as “Numoon” in the rap world. He has been rapping since 2005. He likes hip hop, retro video games, card games and social justice. He is a first-generation American and a dual citizen to the states and Israel. He attained a master’s degree and career in higher education but recently switched to human resources. His first dream was to be a rapper. He taught himself how to rap in order to stay out of trouble in a dysfunctional family and a poor public school after he broke his ankle three times skateboarding.
Simha Toledano (She/They)
Venture: Sun + Stone Community Center
About the Venture: Sun + Stone Community Center is a space for healing, ritual, and culture. As a hypnotist, ritualist, and a storytelling artist, it is an intentional and collective space for my offerings and those of other spiritual, wellness, and artistic practitioners. It is a space for Philadelphians to restore connection with self, land, and community.
About Simha: Simha is a queer, first generation American, Mizrahi Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jew living in her hometown Philadelphia/Lenapehoking. Simha is a certified hypnotist, filmmaker, theater artist, and ritualist. She is currently enrolled in the Kohenet Institute’s Hebrew Priestess ordination program. Simha’s soul mission is to use her intuition (body wisdom) to support others in connecting with their intuition. They are excited about trees, collaboration, stories, the politics of space, and seeking social/racial/environmental justice through solidarity and imagining the world to come. She dreams of a world where the needs of mothers and queer parents are centered and valued, and where all people are free and safe.
Tribe 12 connects people in their 20s/30s to Jewish life and community in Philadelphia today so they will choose to stay connected tomorrow. We welcome people who identify as Jewish, whose partner is Jewish, or who are exploring Judaism. Tribe 12 seeks to include all individuals regardless of gender or identity expression, religious history and practice, health and disability whether visible or invisible, and financial circumstances. For questions, to request accommodations, or just to say hi, reach out to email@example.com.