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Big breakthroughs in community engagement about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Here’s a submission from the lovely and tireless Rachel Eryn Kalish, NCDD supporting member and Founding Principal of Workplace Connections

Community engagement these days–about almost anything–is often intense, with more heat than light as a result. When it comes to talking about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian situation, that heat can burn up even the most well meaning friendships, community relationships, family connections..

If you are looking for an example of how a community can move from discord to deep discourse, check this out, the results of a year-long process of intra communal dialogue and deliberation about Israel and the Israeli Palestinian situation: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/63860/the-end-of-rude-did-the-year-of-civil-discourse-make-it-easier-to-talk-abou/)

This effort started 6 years ago, though it really gained traction when a public eruption occurred during the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Almost 1000 people have gone through dialogue and deliberation training and facilitated conversations, in venues ranging from synagogues to workplaces, the very same Jewish Film Festival and book and Jewish text study circles.

Using deep spiritual teachings, communication skills, the latest neuroscience research, participants moved from reactive fight/flight triggered responses to open hearted, deeply engaging conversations, proving this can be done on a large scale with one of the most hotly contested issues a community can face.


Rachel Eryn Kalish, M.C. has been engaging professionally in conflict trasformation work at the community, organizational, and interpersonal levels for 30 years. Her life’s work is in support of wise, deep, integrated, nonviolent ways for handling any hotly contested differences.

This post was submitted by a member of the NCDD community. NCDD members are leaders and future leaders in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving. You, too, can post to the NCDD blog by completing the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit.

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  1. [...] the letter was circulated by Rachel Eryn Kalish, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb [...]

  2. [...] can burn up even the most well meaning friendships, community relationships, family connections,” observed Rachel Eryn Kalish, an organizer of the San Francisco-area Year of Civil Discourse Initiative that was “designed to [...]

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