Testimonials

“I am inspired to engage in challenging conversations I would previously have been eager to avoid. I see how being curious and listening for what people are committed to and passionate about can help me discover my own passion and fears with a new and curious mind. I see the possibility of holding such conversations more gently, instead of with white knuckles and gritting my teeth, I have the opportunity to sit and ponder and discover another person’s soul. What a gift! I found the experience to be invaluable and far exceeded my expectations.” – Lisa, Executive Director, Hunter Hillel

“I was able to hear and be heard by people I previously would have thought were on a different planet than me. Thank you. I am so pleasantly surprised. I had stopped talking about Israel this summer, and I am reminded how much I care and that it’s possible to talk about difficult topics wen facilitated properly.” – Samantha, Moishe House resident, GA Participant

“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 I feel that I am doing so 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.” – Student Leader, Hillel’s Resetting the Table Fellowship

“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. I no longer see myself evaluating their beliefs based on the groups they affiliate themselves with.” – Student Leader, Hillel’s Resetting the Table Fellowship

“I found the Resetting the Table training to be one of the most impactful SIC provided training experiences that I have had in the 8 years I have worked for Hillel. It was amazing to have the opportunity to engage in serious dialog with colleagues, students, and outside facilitators in a deep and meaningful way.” – Hillel Executive Director, Hillel’s Resetting the Table Fellowship

“This was the best retreat I’ve ever been on. After this retreat, I feel so much more connected to the work that I care about – bringing Jews, especially young Jews, into conversation with one another around Israel. If we’re really listening to one another and “following the meaning” – which Resetting the Table opens up the space for – then we have so much to learn from each other… I see Resetting the Table as a game-changer. It has the opportunity to transform how we talk about Israel, how we talk to each other, and how we understand each other. That’s the most exciting work we could be doing at this moment in time.” – Jacob LevkowiczFacilitation Fellow, Assistant Director of Campus Affairs at AJC Global

“I can see that the way forward in talking about Israel will be scary, difficult and tense, but if the Sunday workshop is any indication, the people involved in planning our future discussions about Israel will be diverse, trained and committed to facilitating a healthy discussion. At the end of the workshop, we were asked to state one thing that we wanted to start, continue or stop and one thing that we learned. I said that I was going to start talking about Israel. My time for avoidance is over. More important is that I learned that I am not alone. We need to have this conversation together, and we need to begin soon.” – Rabbi Andy Pepperstone, Syracuse, NY

“I wish it were longer and led for the entire conference. This material is amazing.” – Participant, JCC Past Presidents Session

“People in our own community were a little surprised at the variety of opinions about Israel in our own midst. I also appreciated being provided with techniques to listen deeply to those who believe differently than I do in order to get at their underlying assumptions, values and experiences, to get to a place beyond mere debate, where more meaningful discussion can (hopefully) take place. It’s clear that these techniques are not necessarily easy or some sort of magic bullet, but if using them can help create an atmosphere where we can have constructive, open and respectful discussions about hot-topic issues like Israel, I’m willing to try. A great program.” – Participant, JCRC Directors Training

“The program and facilitators were incredible. They helped me realize how (and why) ineffective I have been in dealing with confrontational/adversarial people. Very deep and complex work. We just got a taste, an understanding of the complexity of this work.” – Participant, JCRC Directors Training

“This is one of the first times I have come away from a conversation on Israel feeling calm and happy, feeling like I have gained something valuable, feeling humbled and elevated at once. I so cherish the time we have spent learning what it is to actually understand another person and to explore the stories that give rise to our positions.” – Alexandra, University of Michigan Student Leader 

“I found your program to be the best Israel program I have ever been a part of (and as someone who has worked for multiple Jewish organizations, I’ve been through many).” – Sarah, Detroit Federation Young Leadership

“Because of the unpleasantness of community conversations about Israel, I had largely stopped talking about Israel with any but selected friends and to some extent disengaged from focusing on the topic at all. The power of the workshop and the initiative for me has been reengaging with the subject of Israel—realizing I want to talk about it, that I can initiate conversations with people, and they don’t have to be horrible. It made me curious rather anxious about the thought of talking to people who… don’t necessarily share my views.” – Bnai Jeshurun synagogue member, New York City

“This workshop transformed my attitude toward discussing Israel with those I disagree with. It gave me some much-needed skills in listening to their opinions with respect and openness. The moderator was brilliant, generous, and kind.” – Bnai Jeshurun synagogue member, New York City

“Practical, well-executed training on how to open dialogue in the face of potential conflict. It was powerful to hear others’ stories of meaningful connection to Israel, as well as to be reminded of my own; and challenging to try to get beyond my knee-jerk reactions to statements with which I disagree, and find the words to try to build a bridge. It was humbling to recognize where I get triggered, and to be with my struggle to not simply shut down. I could use some practice, and not only in dialogues about Israel.” – Bnai Jeshurun synagogue member, New York City

“Masterfully facilitated by the incomparable Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, 65 members of the small (but vibrant!) Ashland Jewish community came together to talk about Israel. As many know, at best this is a difficult, emotionally complex issue, and at worst, well, toxic and divisive don’t even begin to cover it. There is much silence and alienation about Israel within the Jewish community (and without) for many complicated reasons. We sought to breakdown some of these barriers regardless of belief or stance, and to come together as a community to converse on this issue, for perhaps the first time ever in a safe way in Ashland.” – Temple Emek Shalom synagogue member, Ashland, OR

“Training as a facilitation fellow for “Resetting the Table” gave me tools and a framework to be not just an effective facilitator, but to navigate the highly volatile Israeli Palestinian conflict across many different settings throughout the American Jewish communal landscape. The combination of applied theory and hands on practice allowed me the gift of supporting people who have felt silenced and marginalized on a topic they care deeply about. But most importantly, the fellowship instilled a sense of confidence that I can hold a space that can be transformative for its participants. The staff’s holistic approach toward facilitation exercised both cognitive and emotional aspects of supportive listening. While I support and learned from the facilitation model they use, ultimately they stress that facilitation is about finding your unique voice and refining it to follow the meaning of the other voices in the room.” – Rabbi Ezra Weinberg, Facilitation Fellow 

“Resetting the Table is one of the most thoughtful Jewish initiatives I have participated in.  Their team is expert at training and facilitating folks to listen to each other on a deep level. As someone whose professional background has been involved in dialogue about Israel, I was surprised that through the training my own capacity for listening grew. And, when trained facilitators came to the synagogue I belong to, I witnessed a real break-through in being able to talk across the diversity of my community’s opinions about Israel.”  – Rabbi Reuven Greenvald, Convener on behalf of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah