I once met a young person in Tyler who was sharing their frustration with me about a personal matter. They made an interesting observation when they said, “I talk all the time, but no one ever listens.”

I have thought about that comment often as I make my way around various circles in our community. There are so many interesting opinions and stories and personal back-stories, but there has never been a great space to share those ideas in a single place. Our local media outlets do a wonderful job reporting news of the day, but I often wish for more processed commentary from my neighbors.

I was delighted in 2017 when I met the founder of what became the Tyler Loop. Tasneem Raja wanted to bring high-level journalism and reporting to Tyler. She and her husband Chris succeeded in ushering a new era of reporting and data-based journalism that has helped shaped the way we in Tyler have communal conversations.

When Tasneem and Chris left to pursue other opportunities in California, I was honored to come on board as the chair of the Tyler Loop. At that critical moment of leadership change, we found an amazing new executive director in Jane Neal. Her background as a teacher, storyteller, and creator was a wonderful fit for the next chapter of the Tyler Loop. Just look at any of our newsletters, communal events, or reporting – you will see Jane’s heart-print on all of it.

As a board member, I felt that we were ready to launch a new blog space where we welcomed the voices of our neighbors. Yes, we all have social media – and some people choose to share their commentary there, but we wanted something more enduring than a quick tweet or Facebook comment.

Enter the Tyler Babble.

The premise is simple – we want to be the most outstanding online space for thoughtful, local commentary.

To write for us, authors will need to fill out an application. That way we know who is looking to write for us. And part of the application is agreeing to abide by our community standards. We want thoughtful, insightful, personal voices on whatever topic you choose to share.

So share your voice. And while the bulk of our space will be devoted to written entries – we know that some people may want to share videos or music or poetry. Bring it on! Just read the welcome note, the community guidelines, and then fill out an application by clicking here.

And for those who don’t want to write – you are just as important! We need you to read and share the voices of your neighbors.

I look forward to being part of this journey with you all.

To peace,
Neal Katz

By Neal Katz

Neal Katz has been the rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Tyler, TX since 2003. He is currently the Board Chair of the Tyler Loop. He serves on a number of local non-profit boards and is also a musician.