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iEngage: Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Engaging Israel: Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Through video lectures, text study, and lively group discussion, we are pleased to bring the world-renowned faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute into the Bristol and West Jewish community this coming year.

Led by Rabbi Monique Mayer & Nadine Ford

Do you wonder why there are so many different views on Israel/Palestine?

The Gaza War in 2014 brought into sharp relief a diversity of opinions and reactions to the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine. Our community has sought different ways to discuss our reactions, but what we need is a deeper conversation. In order to find a way to help people understand each other and the values which inform their own narratives and opinions, Rabbi Monique has brought in the iEngage programme from the Hartman Institute.

In a subject fraught with tension, where there is no right or wrong answer, this course will shed light on what drives the differing perspectives within Jewish communities and provide a calm environment for thought-provoking discourse. It will take no sides, yet seek to understand all of them, no matter where on the spectrum they lie. Students will be encouraged to read opinions antithetical to their own and examine the values behind them with a critical mind, with the aim of raising awareness of how their own background can affect their dialogues, and also to enable them to develop a more nuanced appreciation for alternative perspectives and viewpoints.

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Course dates

Free taster session

There will be a taster session on Saturday January 28th at 1pm which everyone is invited to attend. It won’t cost a thing and you don’t need to sign up for it. The session will show you what the course entails in more detail, as well as providing some engaging discussion, and you’ll also get a preview of the first session.

Full course

The course will be in two parts, each consisting of six sessions; the first part will run in the spring, the second in the autumn. Part 1 will take place on the following dates:

February 25th; March 25th; April 8th; April 22nd; May 13th; May 27th

Part 2 will begin in September.

All sessions are on Saturday afternoons at 1pm and will run for about two hours.

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Unit descriptions

  1. Talking About Israel: Foundations for a Values Discourse explores the range of attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict across the Jewish world, emphasizing the different values and moral claims that lie behind each core position along the spectrum. The unit seeks to frame and establish the basis for a values discourse about the conflict in which different positions are understood in values terms.
  2. The Current Discourse: Living with Difference examines the sociological categories of pluralism, tolerance, and deviance and their reflection in Jewish sources to gain an understanding of the ways in which Jewish communities can accommodate difference and develop strategies of acceptance and belonging.
  3. The Israel We Imagine addresses the most essential narratives and assumptions that the Jewish community holds about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An understanding of differing positions, resulting from differing visions and aspirations, can foster a richer and more tolerant Jewish discourse about the conflict.
  4. Jewish Narratives of Peace explores different models of peace within our sources and the way they affect our vision for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As one of the principal aspirations of the Jewish people, featured in all of our prayers, what type of peace are we praying for?
  5. Attitudes Towards the Land ñ Perspectives from Within Israel examines the historical and religious significance of the land in Jewish sources and the way this range of perspectives shapes the attitudes of many Jews, especially those in Israel, towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
  6. Attitudes Towards the Land ñ Perspectives from Outside the Land explores Diasporic conceptions of the place of land in Judaism and how they shape the way one views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  7. Justice explores the central meanings and implications of justice within our tradition and the impact that these understandings have on our moral responsibilities toward the conflict and its resolution.
  8. Justice: X Happened looks at the claim that a wrong was perpetrated as part of Israelís establishment and the ways in which this kind of controversial claim can be addressed in a genuine and morally appropriate manner.
  9. Self-Preservation explores the core moral commitment to self-preservation in Jewish tradition and its impact on the way we think about the conflict.
  10. Compromise examines the ways in which our tradition views the idea of compromise, its relationship toward justice, the way it interacts with self-preservation, and how it shapes political and moral perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  11. A Light Unto the Nations: The Idea of Exceptionalism analyzes the core concept of Jewish exceptionalism from within the Jewish tradition and how this idea can impact positions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  12. Concluding Conversations ñ Living with Competing Values brings together iEngage faculty members to discuss how they synthesize the different values addressed in the series. The session models a conversation about the conflict in which values and ideas, rather than politics, take center stage.

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Course fee (covers both parts): £60 for members; £84 for nonmembers.

An additional £10 if you require printed course materials (all materials are available for free in digital format).

Financial assistance is available. Contact Rabbi Monique to discuss the options.

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Signing up and other information

To enroll on the course, please fill out the sign up form. The deadline for signing up is February 15th.

More information on the content of the course can be found at Hartman Online.

For further information on any aspect of the course contact Rabbi Monique.

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