New Israel dialogue aims to engage Jewish young adults

Fostering open and honest conversation among young adults about Israel is the goal of a new initiative convened by a group of clergy from five area Conservative, Orthodox and Reform congregations. The group hopes to provide an opportunity for Jews in their 20s and 30s from diverse backgrounds to discuss ideas they might otherwise avoid discussing in a safe and inclusive environment.

“As a Jewish community, we have not done a good job of creating a safe space where people feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about Israel–the parts we love, and the parts with which we struggle,” said Maharat Rori Picker Neiss of Bais Abraham Congregation. “Those individuals who do not feel an unwavering support for Israel are given the message that the Jewish community does not have a space for them and Israel does not have a space for them.”

The event is being organized by Neiss, Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah, Rabbi Ari Kaiman of B’nai Amoona, Rabbi Deana Sussman of Central Reform Congregation and Rabbi Jonah Zinn of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

“The polarizing conversation within the American Jewish community around the proposed Iran deal,” explained Rabbi Zinn, “once again reinforces the need to create a new communal dialogue around Israel. We hope Israel Uncensored will help jumpstart this discussion in our community.”

Israel Uncensored will kick off on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at The Pat Connolly Tavern, 6400 Oakland Avenue in St. Louis.

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