“Every day, I witness numerous examples of polarized, often intolerant, views, and I struggle to find a way to engage, even with some of my friends.”
“Recently a neighbor mentioned to me that her perception of my opinion on Israel caused her to view me as her “enemy.” I was taken aback and deeply hurt by this statement. The pain of this attack cut so deeply because of my love for Israel and my commitment to Judaism. It was as though she called into question the core of my existence.”
Beyond these personal experiences, we have heard from a few members that they sometimes do not feel comfortable about the way controversial topics are discussed at TBE. We are committed to creating a more inclusive space and deepening connection within our community through a Jewish lens.
That’s exactly the goal of the new civil discourse initiative. After a few meetings, we believe we’re on a path to better understand how to engage about controversial topics. We are identifying a process and developing practices around discourse and open dialogue that focus on active listening, mutual respect, and conversation. The goal is to connect, rather than to persuade.
To date, we have participated in two thoughtful conversations in which members with different perspectives have been able to engage, learn, and most importantly, be heard. After our most recent meeting, everyone felt we were on a promising path and we hope to broaden participation.
Our group will continue to meet and provide “space” at TBE where we can practice our core values: to “listen deeply and speak wholeheartedly” striving to find wholeness…and peace (shalom) for our community, Israel and our world.”
Check the calendar for upcoming conversations and join us in this sacred endeavor.