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How Do We Love Israel with Rabbi Shira Stutman

Upcoming Sessions

1. Wednesday, November 30, 2022 6 Kislev 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

2. Wednesday, December 14, 2022 20 Kislev 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

3. Wednesday, January 4, 2023 11 Tevet 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

4. Wednesday, January 18, 2023 25 Tevet 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

5. Wednesday, February 1, 2023 10 Shevat 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

6. Wednesday, February 15, 2023 24 Shevat 5783

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

7. Wednesday, March 1, 2023 8 Adar 5783

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

For thousands of years, Israel was little more than a yearning of the Jewish soul and imagination, a  day-dream that allowed us to build the perfect country in our minds and hearts. But today it’s a “a state just like any other, with its prostitutes and thieves,” to quote David Ben Gurion. And with statehood comes disappointment, challenge--but also the tangible possibility of an extraordinarily better future. 

For those Jews who love Israel but choose not to live there, how do we best support Israel from afar? Do we marinate in the dream or face the complexity of statecraft? Where we have critiques, do we voice them aloud or keep them to ourselves? Does it matter if we’re speaking only to Jews or to the general public? How/do we critique other Jews who have different opinions than we do? What is our goal and what is our role? 

Approximately twice a month, from November through March, a small group will meet to discuss, argue about, reflect, cry, laugh, and build on these questions and many more. 

Requirements for the class (plus explanations for the requirements):

  • This class is for ohavei medinat yisrael, people who love the state of Israel. That feeling may be expressed in many ways, including severe critique of Israeli policies and postures. We are looking for a significant diversity of opinion in this conversation. 
  • This is not a history class: The expectation is that you understand some 1973 war, for instance, that you know who Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid are, that you could pinpoint Haifa on a map. 
  • You have to have been to Israel sometime in the last five years or have spent a semester or year there: We want you to have some understanding of real, lived Israel. 
  • Do the homework! There will be about four hours of reading or other activities--including 1-on-1 meetings with other class members, journaling/writing, and reading--between classes. 
  • In addition, as we are curating a community of trust and reflection in this class, we will require the following:
    • A deep care for the good of the Washington Jewish community.
    • Acknowledgment that if you miss more than one class, you will be asked to step down from the cohort. 
    • Your physical presence! These will be in-person conversations. There will be Zoom options if COVID protocols require it.

If you are interested in this program, please send a paragraph-long explanation for why you want to participate. We ask that you include some information on where you place yourself on the political spectrum vis a vis Israel. Overly reductionist but helpful questions to answer include: do you support AIPAC/JStreet/IfNotNow/JVP? Do you call the kidney-shaped piece of land between the Jordan River and Israel the West Bank/Judea and Samaria/Palestine? 

We look forward to taking this journey with you.

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Fri, October 7 2022 12 Tishrei 5783