Big News: Jews Find a Way to Talk Civilly About Israel!

The latest issue of the Chicago Jewish News contains a wonderful cover story about my congregation and how we’ve been working to find a way to talk openly, honestly and civilly together about Israel. (The eye-grabbing headline: “HELL FREEZES OVER, CUBS WIN WORLD SERIES, JEWS FIND WAY TO DISAGREE AGREEABLY.”)

Here’s an excerpt:

“I have very strong feelings about Israel and I express them pretty openly. My activism is very public,” (Rabbi Rosen) says. “That is my own truth as a Jew and a rabbi, and it is very important to me to be true to my private personal conscience.”

But as the rabbi of JRC, “I also feel strongly that my job is to create the kind of environment where people, even those who don’t agree with me — and there are many — feel welcome to express those views and have those views heard. I respect the diversity of opinion at JRC,” he says. “We may be (perceived as) left-leaning, but on the subject of Israel, we are more diverse than people think.”

The largest group of congregants, he says, fall somewhere in the middle of a continuum, with some on both ends of the spectrum.

With these thoughts in mind, Rosen says, he and a number of congregants “decided together that rather than raise all this dust, it would be a great opportunity to use these emotions in some kind of constructive way.”

What else can I say other than that I’m enormously proud of my congregation?!

5 Replies to “Big News: Jews Find a Way to Talk Civilly About Israel!”

  1. Yasher Koach, Brant AND JRC! What an amazing triumph,an oasis in a desert of silence and acrimony. As they say, Keyn Yirbu, may you inspire many more.

    With admiration and gratitude,

    Brian Walt

  2. Bravo, JRC! And bravo, Brant! We Christians could learn a a thing or two from you folks about disagreeing agreeably and promoting civil dialogue. As a matter of fact, so could our fellow American citizens.

    Cotton

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