What happens when a small, remote Jewish community starts arguing over Israel?
Sometimes you can’t pick your Jewish community, because in many places there is only one to choose from. It’s the only place in town where Judaism happens, and by process of elimination it’s “the temple.” So, you attend. You may have been raised Conservative and the community is officially Reform. You may only know one melody and the community only knows the other one. You are not an exact fit, but it doesn't matter, because if you don’t go, then Judaism is not happening for you. When you do go absenteeism may feel high and the regulars are probably very eccentric, but you can always meet Jews there and some of them you really like. You find your groove there, but a problem begins. It’s a problem that can start from a dvar Torah, at the oneg, or a book club. Israeli politics enters the conversation. Suddenly a group of people, who make compromises in their own Jewish ideologies and practices to make their community work, are not compromising any more. Each Jewish individual holds firm on their Israel stance as if holed up in a foxhole. Each Jew lobs their Israel ideologies and political views at each other without looking where the shrapnel hits. So communities where Jews have nowhere else to be Jewish are finding that being Jewish is hard when Israel gets in the middle of it.
Scripts for the conversation wary
Small Talk, Big Conversations are scripts designed to ease these arguments and heal the fallout they create. However, these aren’t the kind of scripts where people just act out their parts and then go home. These scripts offer ideas of how to find a middle ground for those who have polar opposite views and for those who get caught in the middle. These scripts provide for its readers a vocabulary for Israel conversations, a toolkit for emotional awareness, and a guide line of facts concerning controversial Israel issues. These scripts do not pick sides nor do they value a single perspective over another one. They are guides that empower Jews to talk about their views in safe places even if there are two Jews and three perspectives.
How to use this website
This website is divided into three sections. The scripts are their own sections which include real life scenarios that introduce controversies, provide a vocabulary, multiple perspectives, and concluding questions. The next section is called Openers and Closers. These are rituals that anyone can do to help your community enter into and leave a sacred conversation space. The final section is the forum. Here we ask for your input. This website is designed to be a living document that changes and evolves. This can only happen with your input. Help us help you by telling us things that have worked and things that have not worked. Give new scenarios to write about and new rituals to try. We change this website accordingly to your valuable input. Navigate to where you want to go by clicking here: