Collaborative Dialogue About Israel and Its Conflict with the Palestinians
For UW College Students
Funded by Jewish Federation of Madison Innovation Panel Grant
Would you like to have a constructive, respectful conversation with other Jewish people whose views about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian situation are different from your own? Are you interested in talking about your experiences, feelings, convictions, and questions in an environment that promotes mutual learning?
Funded by an innovation grant from the Jewish Federation of Madison, Shaarei Shamayim, Temple Beth El, Beth Israel Center, and UW Hillel will host monthly sessions for Jews of all perspectives, denominations and backgrounds to engage in community dialogue where participants will:
• join together with the larger Madison Jewish community;
• share perspectives on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian situation;
• learn about different perspectives; and • reflect on your own experiences, feelings, and ideas, and explore your own questions.
The dialogue will be useful whether you feel certain, ambivalent, or confused about your views, and whether you have studied these issues in depth or you are just beginning to think about them.
What to Expect
In our dialogue program, trained facilitators will lead intimate conversations in small groups. The facilitators will set up a structure for the conversation and pose specially designed questions that will help each person to speak and listen in a manner that fosters mutual understanding and reflection. You will be encouraged to explore your differences, seeking to understand them more fully, but not to persuade one another or to seek consensus or compromise. THIS IS NOT A DEBATE. After a brief introduction, you will set up communication agreements that will be maintained for the duration of the conversation. You will then take turns responding to a series of questions dealing with issues such as:
• how the conflict has affected you, and experiences that have shaped your responses to the conflict;
• what is at heart of the matter for you - - how you see and feel about the situation, your hopes and fears, and any commitments or sense of obligation that you feel; and
• questions you wrestle with, and any areas of confusion or uncertainty.
Next, there will be a less-structured discussion in which you can ask each other questions, respond to one another, and build on ideas that have arisen. You will also have an opportunity to talk about your hopes for conversation within the larger Jewish community regarding these issues. Finally, there will be a brief closing.
All participants are expected to observe the following communication agreements:
• listen attentively; • speak honestly in ways that promote learning and genuine inquiry;
• seek to understand each other; • refrain from explicit or implicit attack or persuasion;
• omit language that any participant experiences as disrespectful; and
• treat what others say as confidential.
About the Jewish Dialogue Group
The Jewish Dialogue Group (www.jewishdialogue.org) is a grassroots organization working to promote constructive dialogue within Jewish communities about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other controversial issues. Its board members, staff, and volunteers have many different political perspectives, and as an organization, it does not take positions on any issues. It has led more than 260 dialogue programs in synagogues, schools, and other venues throughout North America.
After piloting 3 successful Jewish Dialogue sessions in 2014, this grant enables the Madison Jewish community to come together each month. Some sessions will be for those who have never participated in a Jewish Dialogue session and others will deepen the experience for those who have.
The schedule for the entire year is not fully set yet, but the initial sessions are:
• January 28th 7-9 PM @ UW Hillel - focusing on young adults in their 20s & 30s
• February 12th 7-9 PM @ UW Hillel - focusing on UW college students
Keep an eye out for future sessions for interfaith couples, Jewish organizational leadership and Camp Shalom staff, as well as those who have participated in past Jewish Dialogue sessions.
To ensure meaningful dialogue from all participants, registration is required and each session will have a maximum of 15 participants. There is a small $5 fee, to defray expenses not covered by the grant, but it can be waived if necessary.
To register for the January or February session or to obtain information about future sessions please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org