The Cleveland Jewish News and the Cleveland Jewish News Foundation are partnering with the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University for Tribe Talk, a monthly informal, interactive discussion series to begin Jan. 30.

Each event will host a guest from the Jewish community who has insight in a field relevant to Jewish life and current issues. Brian Amkraut and Alanna Cooper, executive director and director of the program, respectively, will be panelists with the guest, where they will spend the hour discussing a main topic along with two other current event-related topics.

Amkraut said Tribe Talk is meant to engage audiences in discussions in ways that depart from Siegal’s primary lecture and course-based programs.

“It really is an open conversation. We interrupt one another, and are respectful, but it’s not a formal question and answer, back and forth process,” Amkraut said.

According to Cooper, Tribe Talk is an opportunity to engage in issues relevant to the local Jewish community that may be discussed on social media or in the news.

“It’s giving people a sense of the lay of the land, in terms of what is important Jewish news that is going on right now, and then provide some context for people who want to follow certain stories,” Cooper said.

Although Tribe Talk began a year ago, Cooper and Amkraut saw it as a pilot program and said they now have the format down well enough to expand it, which is where the CJN and the CJN Foundation come in as a co-presenting sponsors.

“We just felt that kind of the news piece of what we are doing was right in line with CJN’s mission and their interests as well,” Amkraut said.

Paul Singerman, president of the CJN Foundation, said, “This monthly forum, which will discuss trending Jewish news, fits perfectly with the Foundation’s mission of facilitating educational programs regarding Jewish culture and accomplishments. We look forward to engaging and lively discussions about timely topics of interest to Cleveland’s Jewish community,”

CJN Managing Editor Bob Jacob said, “We are always looking to support great partners and their missions. This current events series is a perfect complement to what we do daily online and weekly in print – that is provide news and information to the community.”

Amkraut and Cooper said they hope to engage a diverse group of community members together in one room, and as a result disengage them from their social media echo chambers for at least that hour.

“The reality is, those are not really conversations and bringing people together in a room from throughout the Jewish community, I think that’s a really great opportunity and it doesn’t happen enough these days,” Amkraut said.

Cooper said, “We want people to come in with diverse opinions and ideas.”

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