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Rabbi Melissa Weintraub is spearheading JCPA’s national Civility Campaign, which is the institutional home of Resetting the Table. Melissa is a noted educator, social entrepreneur, and thought leader who trains leaders and builds programs at the intersections of Israel, Jewish thought and conflict resolution. Melissa was the founding director of Encounter, an organization dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the Jewish people to be agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Melissa built Encounter from the ground up to an internationally recognized organization, selected by Slingshot as one of fourteen standard-bearing organizations for innovation and impact. Melissa was awarded the Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, which honors individuals who have demonstrated leadership and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program, Melissa has lectured and taught in hundreds of Jewish communal institutions, universities, and forums on four continents, and is a faculty member for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary and graduated from Harvard University with a summa cum laude degree in Political Theory and Women’s Studies.
Eyal Rabinovitch is the founding director of Resetting the Table: Open Conversations on Israel. A mediator, facilitator, coach, and trainer, Eyal supports individuals and communities to defuse tension, communicate directly, and build new lines of collaboration and problem-solving. Eyal developed a unique “Speaking across Conflict” framework through which he has trained dozens of corporate and non-profit professionals, philanthropists, and educators. He has advised numerous national non-profits on methods, language, and theory for engaging diverse stakeholders in dialogue on polarized issues, such as abortion and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Resetting the Table is modeled on a Facilitation Fellowship that Eyal designed and led for the New Israel Fund in which he trained young Jewish leaders to convene over a dozen community conversations on Israel throughout the Bay Area. Two of Eyal’s other current projects include designing a conflict prevention, management, and reconciliation program for a state-wide reproductive health coalition, and using theater to convene community dialogue on elder abuse and social isolation in San Mateo County, CA. Eyal has mediated dozens of interpersonal, community, and criminal court cases, and apprenticed several new mediators as a mentor for Safe Horizon Community Mediation Center in Brooklyn, NY. A published author on dialogue and deliberation, Eyal has a doctorate in sociology from UCLA and has taught courses integrating conflict resolution theory and practice as an Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University and Baruch College.
Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After many years of work in pastoral care, hospice and spiritual direction, Rabbi Eilberg now directs interfaith dialog programs in the Twin Cities at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, and is adjunct faculty at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and St. Catherine University. She has taught the art of listening in venues throughout the country, and is deeply engaged in peace and reconciliation efforts in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and with conflict within the Jewish community. She now serves as co-chair of the Civility Campaign of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. Her book, “From Enemy to Friend: A Jewish Practice of Sacred Conflict Engagement,” will be published by Orbis Books in spring, 2014.
Rabbi Steve Gutow is President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. He is a lawyer, rabbi, and political organizer. He has been named to the “Forward 50” and Newsweek’s list of most influential rabbis in the U.S in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Steve is an outspoken voice for enlarging the Jewish political tent to include many divergent voices. One of his signature initiatives at JCPA has been a groundbreaking national campaign to restore civility to public discourse. The effort has garnered the support of leaders from over 1,000 Jewish institutions across the country. In workshops, speeches, and articles, he has addressed subjects including racial harmony, religious pluralism civil liberties, the safety and security of Israel, poverty, healthcare, and the environment. Steve has led the Jewish and interfaith community in three food Stamp challenges, a commitment to live on the average weekly allotment of food stamps $31.50, to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in America. And he is a passionate advocate for Israel, Israeli-Palestinian peace, and efforts to challenge delegitimization.
Ethan Felson is the Vice President and General Counsel of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). He is one of the lead professionals navigating the Jewish community’s relationships with Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Christians, Muslims, and others. He also leads JCPA’s national campaign to restore civility to Jewish and general discourse and has led workshops and spoken in more than 20 communities on the topic. His articles have appeared in S’hma, JTA, the American Jewish Yearbook and elsewhere. He helped draft JCPA’s Civility Statement which garnered support from 1,500 Jewish leaders and as well as the Letter in Hope which expressed the heartfelt concern of 1,500 rabbis and 30,000 member of the Jewish community on Israeli-Palestinian peace, partnership with our Christian neighbors, and divestment proposals being considered in two churches. Ethan is a graduate of Lehigh University, the Beit Midrash of Greater Hartford, and the University of Connecticut School of Law.