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How do we love Israel? With Rabbi Shira Stutman

Upcoming Sessions

1. Wednesday, April 3, 2024 24 Adar II 5784

7:00 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

2. Wednesday, April 10, 2024 2 Nisan 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

3. Wednesday, April 17, 2024 9 Nisan 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

4. Wednesday, May 8, 2024 30 Nisan 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

5. Wednesday, May 15, 2024 7 Iyyar 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

6. Wednesday, May 29, 2024 21 Iyyar 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

7. Tuesday, June 4, 2024 27 Iyyar 5784

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMBiran Beit Midrash - In-Person Only

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 and challenge--but also the ever-elusive possibility of a better future. 

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has laid bare many American Jewish disagreements about Israel, both in terms of policy and approach. For those Jews who love Israel but choose not to live there, how do we best support Israel from afar? Should our support be unwavering or qualified? 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? 

This class will gather seven times to discuss, argue about, reflect, cry, laugh, and build on these questions and many more. Four of those gatherings will be facilitated by Rabbi Shira Stutman. The other three gatherings will be facilitated by an Adas member and lay-leader who is a graduate of one of the first two cohorts of this class.

Requirements for the class:

  • 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 diversity of opinion in this conversation.
  • This is not a history class: The expectation is that you have learned about the 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, 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 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 to Rabbi Elianna Yolkut for why you want to participate. Include some information on where you place yourself on the political spectrum vis a vis Israel. Overly reductionist but helpful questions to answer could include: do you support AIPAC/JStreet/IfNotNow? Do you call the kidney-shaped piece of land between the Jordan River and Israel the West Bank/Judea and Samaria/Palestine? Did you attend the November “pro-Israel” rally on the mall or did you want to attend but were unable to do so? 

We look forward to taking this journey with you.

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Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784