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Let's Talk About Israel

04/20/2023 07:02:12 PM

Apr20

An old journalistic aphorism holds that "Jews are news." Whether that is still broadly true today might be open to debate, but it is undeniably true that "Israel is (constantly in the) news." Whether the frame of reference is the Israel-Palestine conflict in its military, diplomatic and philosophical/moral dimensions, or the status of non-Orthodox converts to Judaism in the Jewish State, or the current, unprecedented level of protest and political unrest in response to proposed judicial reforms by the Netanyahu government, Israel is continually the subject of news broadcasts and opinion pieces on the Internet and in the traditional media. 

For many of us as Jews, there is also a deeply personal dimension to these current events and the way they are covered in the media and beyond. The conversation about Israel challenges our social justice commitments and our sense of Jewish identity. Additionally, the harassment of Jewish students and faculty on college campuses, and anti-Jewish aggression adjacent to anti-Zionist activism, brings into question where the line between thoughtful criticism of Israeli government policies and old-fashioned anti-Semitism should be drawn. 

In recent years, some of you have approached me asking for a safe space in which CBI members might dialogue with each other about what's going on in Israel. I am therefore excited to announce two upcoming dialogue programs that we’re calling "Let's Talk about Israel."  

The first one is scheduled for Sunday, April 30 at 9 AM, in the CBI Library, which is on the third floor of the Shirley Barish Learning Center building. In this session we will get to know each other and talk about our personal, individual relationship to Israel in a respectful, moderated environment.  

The second session the following week will feature a live Zoom call with Cantor Evan Kent, a longtime friend who has been living in Israel for many years and has been active in the antigovernment protests by Israeli citizens in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. We will be able to hear from him and ask questions about the current situation. 

These sessions will give us a chance to see what you're interested in and how we might continue this ongoing series of conversations next fall. 

This program is limited to 20 participants, and you must be a current member of CBI to participate. Additionally, please sign up only if you can commit to attending both sessions. The cap on participants is necessary due to construction related space limitations on our campus, as well as the need to keep the group small enough that all participants can express themselves. Again, we are planning on continuing this series of conversations next fall, with openings for more participants. 

We expect this program to fill up quickly.  To register, click here.

I'm looking forward to sharing these important conversations with you. 

With love, as always, 

Rabbi Steve Folberg 

Sat, April 20 2024 12 Nisan 5784