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We commit ourselves to this course to preserve an essential element of a community – the ability to meet and talk as brothers and sisters.



American Jews learn to talk with other American Jews about Israel

Special dialogue programs aim to detoxify the conversation about the mother ship and the Palestinians.

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen | Apr. 23, 2015 | 12:32 AM

NEW YORK — It was a rough start to the year for Jews at Princeton University. Over the fall semester at the elite university long known to be nonpolitical, Israel was a flash point for controversy and conflict.

A battle over Israel and divestment, including professors’ divestment calls and what came to be seen as a misstep by Princeton’s Hillel chapter, alienated some students from the Jewish community there. Others publicly disassociated themselves from the Hillel chapter, whose leaders had long striven to be inclusive.

Resetting The Table

Resetting the Table is excited to announce our 2014-15 Cohort of Facilitation Fellows and Conveners!  

Resetting the Table works with organizations and networks across New York City to create inclusive, empowering forums for young adult Jews to talk, study, deliberate, and form their own relationship to Israel. Resetting the Table’s aim is to transform dominant norms of communication on Israel among New York Jews in their 20s and 30s from avoidance, intimidation, and antagonism toward exploration, empowerment, and collaborative deliberation. We believe that American Jews desire and deserve a communal environment in which they can speak thoughtfully with their peers about their relationship to Israel, a topic central to American Jewish identity, without fear. 

Shamai Hillel Intersection
Building a Spirit of ‘Sacred Disagreement’ on Israel

Posted by Rabbi Melissa Weintraub

In rabbinic circles, one increasingly hears sentiments like, “I’m not going to get fired for my politics on gun control or health care, but I could get fired for just about anything I say about Israel.” Rabbi Scott Perlo has coined this the “Death by Israel Sermon.” Across the country, our communal discourse on Israel has grown so ugly that many have stopped caring and engaging at all.

I work with institutions and leaders across the country to build open, constructive communication across political divides on Israel. I’d like to share three patterns that prevail in the current American Jewish conversation about Israel, why it should urgently concern us and what we can do about it.

JCPA’s Resolution on Civility
Adopted by 2010 Plenum Robust, vigorous debate about the pressing issues of the day is vital and essential in a pluralistic society, including within our diverse Jewish community. Deep divisions are to be expected over how to address many issues including but not limited to the domestic economy, the environment, health care, American military involvement abroad, the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the existential threats posed to Israel by terror and Iranian nuclear ambition. A frank and civil exchange of ideas helps to inform and distill consensus. In recent years, however, we have been witness to an increasing challenge in general society and in our own community.


THE JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community. For over 70 years, the JCPA has served as an effective mechanism to identify issues, formulate policy, develop strategies and programs, and has given expression to a strongly united Jewish communal voice.  Through our network of 14 national and 125 local partner agencies, the  JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community.