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Israel Discourse Advisory Committee

How do we talk about Israel at Judea Reform Congregation?

Because let’s be frank. There’s been too much heat, and not nearly enough light in our American Jewish community’s discourse about Israel and Palestine. Too much narrowness, not nearly enough spaciousness. We draw ever more narrow lines, with organizations that not long ago were thought of as mainstream being read out of the people by those who disagree with them. When a rabbi’s association with J Street, or T’ruah or Breaking the Silence, or AIPAC or JNF, is considered evidence of his or her extremism, we have a problem. And when that evidence is marshaled in the service of threatening a rabbi’s career, we have a crisis.

I believe that Judea Reform Congregation has the capacity to rise above that level of discourse. I believe that our membership brings a degree of knowledge, of passion, and of sophistication that makes us the sort of place where ideas can be explored without fear. Our diversity of viewpoints on Israel and Palestine, and the passionate commitments many of hold to those diverse viewpoints, is a strength, not a weakness.

from Rabbi Bach’s 2016 Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Inspired by Rabbi Bach’s call to make the synagogue a model for discourse about Israel and Palestine, Judea Reform Congregation’s Board of Trustees established an “Israel Discourse Policy.” Adopted in April, 2017, the policy affirms in part, that

[w]hile Judea Reform Congregation may choose not to host or sponsor speakers or programs that depart from [our core] values, our instinct is toward listening to ideas even when we may disagree with them, and even when they represent a viewpoint to the right or left of our Movement’s position.

Read the policy statement in its entirety here.

To implement our Israel Discourse Policy, an advisory committee was established. The committee’s charge (which may be read in its entirety here) is to serve as a clearinghouse for all Israel-related programming in the synagogue, and other Israel-related matters. The ideologically diverse body evaluates proposed programs, classes, speakers, etc., ensuring that nothing presented in JRC’s name advocates violence, antisemitism, or Islamophobia, and that the entirety of our programming presents a variety of viewpoints.

Click here to learn more about the IDAC review process.

Appointees to the committee include: Norman Loewenthal, Chair, Kenny Dalsheimer, Nancy Kalow Dektar, Caryn Hertz, Emily Katz, Aron Lelental, Arnie Lerman, Eric Muller, and Sigal Peter-Wohl. Judea Reform Congregation’s Rabbi and President serve ex-officio.

Questions about policy or process, and suggestions for speakers and programs, may be directed to Norm Loewenthal or Rabbi Bach.

Learn more about the committee’s ongoing activities through the reports posted in the sidebar on this page.

Tue, March 20 2018 4 Nisan 5778