The inverse of these destructive patterns -- mutual inquiry, listening and respect in theface of our differences --
is hard enough to put into practice when we‟re most at ease. When we‟re confident that what matters most to us is not at risk.
surrounded by those who agree with us and understand us
or at least are sincerely trying to.
re anxious or threatened, curiosity and openness are usually thefurthest things from our minds.This is a time when many of us, on every side of the political spectrum, are scared.
Scared for Israel‟s
security and future. Scared that Israel is in danger. Scared that thereis so much at stake: not only
our peoples‟ safety
, but also our very identities and moststrongly-held values and commitments. A
- our relationships with eachother when we disagree about what will best serve those commitments. Scared that if weopen our mouths and say the wrong thing we may be ostracized, put in a box, or bludgeoned. Scared that speaking will open us to being misunderstood ormisconstrued, our nuances lost.One of my colleagues in intra-Jewish dialogue work, Rachel Eryn Kalisch, has
observed that „both g
uardians and prophets (which she likes to say rather than right andleft) can get so crazy about Israel because so many of us
believe if you don‟t agree withme we‟re all going to get killed.”
You don‟t know because if you did you would see how you‟re collaborating with our enemies in
our potential annihilation or with our leadersin driving us off a cliff!!This is a terrifying time for all those who care about Israel. And in such a high-stakes,fraught political arena, it is also a terrifying time to
about Israel, let alone be open
to hearing others‟ views and humble about our own.
But it is now when that spirit of inquiry is most important. Because the closed,
antagonistic, and avoidant ways we‟re communicating, understandable as they are
, aredestroying our people in the very moment we most need to be building our people up.Our destructive communication is leading to hurt, frustration, fear, and loneliness.People on all sides of the political spectrum
are ending up vocal and frustrated OR silent and resentful, and done with this.
significant energy from our most important and urgent communalpriorities, including the significant challenges Israel confronts.
We‟re sacrificing the creative problem
-solving that will only come from mining ourcollective wisdom, not from group think.
When we surround ourselves with those who agree
with us and avoid those who don‟t, we end up with incomplete information and defective
decision-making. We all lose the big picture, crucial insight, the liabilities of our own analysis,and most importantly - innovative ways forward
.Finally, in my long list of [why we
to do better, despite how hard it
is]: We‟re losing
people. We are turning people off, and particularly the next generation, who arestanding at the gates of the Jewish community, looking inside and
saying „not for me.‟
There have been a slew of studies and articles in recent year about Young JewsDistancing from Israel. Most of them collect data to substantiate that its happening, but