Pivoting With Your TriBE by Kelly Markiewitz

PIVOT – The buzz word of 2020. Restaurants were hit hard by the pandemic, many closed either permanently or temporarily. However, many reinvented themselves. They converted their indoor areas into mini grocery stores, selling anything from the coveted toilet paper to cleaning products to farmers market items. They started packaging takeout as family meal deals, offered contactless pick-up, and some even provided lunches to needy school age children. Grocery stores employed extra staff to direct people in and out of stores to control numbers and had to limit toilet paper purchases to meet the needs of the masses.

Temple Beth El’s clergy and staff pivoted as well, offering an abundance of online programming, Shabbat services, and a very meaningful High Holy Day experience. Temple led the way for TriBEs to pivot too! I am a member of Triple C (Couples, Cards, and Conversation), led by Lee Bierer. We started with the original group in January of 2019. Lee gave us a firm foundation with our initial meeting being a collaboration of all members deciding the structure of our TriBE. We had such variety in our programming with each meeting focused on a Judaic question or topic with meaningful discussion as well. In addition, we had an amazing time playing games ranging from a very creative Newlywed Game to learning Canasta and Mexican Train Dominoes. We all took turns hosting and planning potluck dinners that never failed to disappoint! Then came COVID.

While we took a little break in the beginning of the pandemic, we quickly learned to pivot to online formats. Our group of TriBE members, many who met for the first time through the TriBE, quickly took the strong foundations that we created in the beginning and used them to continue our fellowship via Zoom. First, we just had a few cocktail and check-ins via Zoom, then we tried out a few online games. During these months, we supported each other through sickness and the passing away of parents. One of our members even moved up to The Lake!

During many of our check-ins, we talked about what movies or TV shows we had been watching. This discussion eventually caused us to pivot to watching and reviewing films with Judaic content or themes. We have taken turns choosing films, and I have watched many films that I am sure I would not have viewed if I were not a member of this Tribe. These viewings have led to meaningful discussions with my husband as well. We are currently choosing several films from the Charlotte Jewish Film Festival to further enrich our content.

Our TriBE is gradually getting vaccinated, and we so look forward to meeting again in person to resume our competitive cards and conversation! In the meantime, we are thankful for the guidance from Temple Beth El and the support of our TriBE during this very different and challenging time.