Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellowship 2016-17

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Program Overview

The Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellowship works to build meaningful campus dialogue across differences on Israel. Mentored by veterans in the fields of Israel engagement, facilitation, and conflict resolution, Fellows will learn practical skills, tools and programs to build welcoming and constructive forums for difficult conversations on Israel.

In 2016-2017:

  • We will select 6-7 new campuses with priority given to campuses located in the Midwest and South.
  • Each campus will select one Hillel professional and two students to serve as Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellows.

To apply, Hillel staff members should complete this application by Aug. 5. If you have additional questions, please contact us at resettingthetable@gmail.com.

Timeline

  • July 18: Campus applications open
  • August 5: Applications close
  • Week of August 8: Campuses notified whether they have been accepted into the program
  • August-September: Campus intakes
  • September 11-13: Opening retreat (Chicago area). Participating in the opening retreat is mandatory.
  • October-May: Campus fellows participate in two consultations per month with Resetting the Table staff to support implementation of customized processes
  • February-May: Planning, preparation and programmatic implementation

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellows?

Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellows are social multipliers who are interested in supporting students to speak about Israel across a broad diversity of backgrounds and views. The ideal Fellows have the desire and ability to inspire trust and safety among a range of constituencies.

Who should supervise this Fellowship?

The supervisor for this Fellowship should be someone who has a good understanding of your campus culture, is committed to be on campus for at least two years and ideally has prior experience with Israel engagement on your campus. The ideal staff member is someone who cares deeply about engaging their community in constructive Israel conversation. They should have the time to work with the student fellows and national Resetting the Table Staff. On many campuses the Executive Director, Assistant Director, a Rabbi, or Jewish Educator are likely to be the best people to supervise. If you have questions or would like to talk this through please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

What will Fellows do as part of the Fellowship?

With support and guidance from RTT staff, Fellows will craft customized processes on campus that:

  • Foster communication where there is currently avoidance or tension, enabling other students to talk openly about Israel without judgment or pressure to conform to any given views
  • Bring like-minded student leaders into conversation with new, diverse partners
  • Provide spaces for those who have not found the right forums to explore, dialogue or learn on Israel

What will Fellows receive?

Fellows will receive a small programmatic budget and a training and consultation package with leading experts in the fields of Israel engagement, conflict resolution and facilitation.  Most costs associated with the in-person training (room and board), consultation for the duration of the Fellowship, and resources are provided for free due to a generous grant from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Family Foundation. In addition, each campus will receive a $300 travel stipend per person to participate in the in-person training (campuses will be expected to cover travel costs exceeding $300/person). There will be additional funding available to support campus conversations and programs that develop out of this Fellowship. The package of training, consultation, resources, and programmatic stipends each campus will receive is valued at $12,500.

What are expectations?

  • Personal commitment: Fellows must be ready, willing, and able to participate in constructive, direct conversations across differences on Israel and to collaborate closely with students who are likely to have different backgrounds, views, experiences, and assumptions than they do. This does not mean that they will be asked to check their own commitments and passions at the door. Rather, it means that Fellows must have the desire and disposition to engage across differences in the spirit of our project.
  • Time commitment: Fellows must participate in a 2.5 day retreat from Sun.-Tues. September 11-13, followed by a series of consultation and planning sessions (2/month) with Resetting the Table staff as they prepare for their events in the Winter and Spring of 2016-2017. Fellows must commit to implementing programs on campus, in partnership and communication with Resetting the Table.

What exactly is Resetting the Table?

Resetting the Table (RTT) builds the capacity of American Jews to talk, study, and deliberate together on Israel across differences in background and views. Through intensive training, skilled facilitation and institutional consultation, RTT transforms dominant norms of communication on Israel from avoidance and antagonism toward collaborative deliberation. A national initiative of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, RTT has no positional agenda. Rather, RTT seek to build productive and direct conversation on some of the most important and fraught issues facing the Jewish people.

The September 11-13th training is Sunday-Tuesday. Are students expected to miss class?

The short answer is yes. The training requires writing and cannot be held over Shabbat, and must include some school days. We also acknowledge that this will require a member of your staff to be out of the office for two days. This training is an exceptional leadership and professional development opportunity, as well as a great way to build trust and a relationship with the two student Fellows from your campus. If your students need notes for professors, or if there is other information we can provide to help them make this an excused absence, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Who are the right students for this Fellowship?

We will help you recruit and select the two students for this Fellowship if your campus is selected.

Fellow should be “doers” and “connectors” with the desire and ability to inspire trust and safety among a diversity of constituencies. The right students will have shown that they are reliable at getting things done and will have the energy, enthusiasm and social networks to bring diverse groups together to have conversations about Israel. It is completely fine, and in fact encouraged, that students have their own opinions about Israel. However, for them to be effective as Resetting the Table Fellows, their personal views cannot get in the way of their ability to convene conversations among others that have very different opinions than they do.  Students selected must be able to sustain empathy and centeredness amidst heated conversation, even in the presence of views significantly different than their own. They do not need to have any particular background or formal training to apply.

The two students ideally will represent diverse political orientations and/or be connected to different constituencies on campus. They should be leaders, connectors, and credible messengers on campus.

Can the students we select already be active in a Hillel sponsored Fellowship or Internship?

Absolutely.  If the students meet the criteria in the question above, we welcome them as part of your campus team.  This could include a current Peer Network Engagement Intern, Ask Big Questions Fellow, or student leader of an Israel group, among others.  We are also happy to welcome students who are new to the Hillel Fellowship scene.  The Resetting the Table staff are available to speak with you on the phone to think through who the best students are for your campus team.

What do past participants say about the experience?

“You are truly helping us change the way we talk about Israel… I can’t tell you the difference our partnership has made in terms of different kinds of students we saw coming into Hillel. It is clear that RTT brought new and different students into Hillel, including those that would not have stepped foot in the door previously. Those that had been turned off by the ugliness of the conversation started to show up and connect.
                    –Omer, Israel Fellow, San Francisco State University

“Multiple students described [our Resetting the Table workshop] as the most productive conversation around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they’ve taken part in at Tufts.”
                    –Jordan, Senior Jewish Educator, Tufts University

“This training renewed my desire to work in Hillel and to work with diverse groups. It gave me very practical skills that are applicable towards not just conversations about Israel, but all interactions that made me heated, personal, or political. The opportunities to connect to staff and students were invaluable. I walked away with program ideas and new skills.”
                    –Rebekah, Director of Student Life, UMass Amherst Hillel

“I heard from many students that this was our strongest Israel-focused program all year.”
                    –Rebecca, Student Activities Director, Harvard

“Resetting the Table is the single most useful Israel tool on college campuses today.”
                    –Jenna, Director of Jewish Student Life, Queens College Hillel

“I learned to approach things in a calmer, more rational and more understanding way. I find myself speaking about the conflict in a completely different way than I did before and in a much more effective way. I am not immediately triggered by people who disagree with me and I feel like I am beginning to understand other people’s narratives much more. I feel a sense of maturity and confidence as I handle conflict-filled discussions. I feel like I am more comfortable in my own opinions as I am learning to respect and understand the opinions of others. This program has changed the way I perceive conflict. Conflict is now an exciting challenge, and no longer a frightening obstacle. I believe this program will have a serious and positive impact for many people. It starts by changing just a small group of people who can, through their training, go on to change the culture of an entire college campus.”
                    –Ameet, Hillel President, University of Southern California

“Thanks to the conversations we had and the lessons we learned during the conference, BFI and the Jewish community as a whole is taking a new approach to the conversation about Israel on campus… [Because of the training], I’ve challenged myself to… reach outside of my comfortable group to engage with students whose ideas are different from mine. I learned the importance of active listening, not just as a phrase or concept, but as a way of life. Because of the conversations we had during the training, I have been able to return to campus and have and organize meetings with students in my Israel group and in groups that have traditionally been known to be ‘opposite’ mine to engage in meaningful conversations.”
                    –Arielle, VP for Bruins for Israel and Representative to UCLA Board of Directors

More questions? Contact us at resettingthetable@gmail.com