Testimonials about Our Consultation Services

“This past year, a group of students at the Pardes Institute came together to discuss how to encourage deep, open discussions within the student body on the biggest issues facing the Jewish world. We reached out to the Jewish Dialogue Group for guidance. The result was ‘Makloket Matters,’ monthly presentations and discussions across the whole Pardes community on the most important questions before us. Teachers remarked that they had never seen something like this in 30 years of Pardes history. The Jewish Dialogue Group’s experience and resources were invaluable in jumpstarting this project.”

�Yoni Ashar
Fellow at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem (2009-2010)

“When it became apparent that our diverse learning community at Pardes 2009/2010 had a need for dialogue, one previous experience, one person and one resource came to mind: Mitch Chanin and the Jewish Dialogue Group. It has proved to be the one-stop shop that we could not have done without. Mitch was immensely thorough and thoughtful in all of our consultations. We were provided insights in thinking through the purpose and function of dialogue, facilitator roles, small group models that could work for our group of 120 participants, in addition to models for various sessions of differing topics. JDG and Mitch were the support and �go-to� all the way from surveys before the program�s start, to multi-faceted evaluations for the program�s conclusion. Mitch was available and prompt in response to calls for help, in addition to being attentive and checking in us whenever he had not heard from us. My notes from our conversations and our correspondences remain a reference. With Mitch�s experience and the resources of the JDG at hand our program was improved qualitatively and was supported to be a vessel strong enough to contain the challenging work we aimed to do. While I have taken part in interreligious dialogue for a number of years now, working on this project with the guidance of the JDG, I have come to understand the art of dialogue on a deeper level. I find that I now want to continue my involvement with intra-Jewish dialogue — I can�t see any diverse Jewish community as complete without it.”
�Isra Yaghoubi
Fellow at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem (2009-2010)
Co-organizer of the “Makhoket Matters” Program

�In response to the various reactions to the Olympia Food Co-op Boycott on Israeli Goods, I participated in organizing an intra-Jewish dialogue in Olympia. The model that was adapted for our community was generously shared with us by the Jewish Dialogue Group. Susan Partnow facilitated the event with compassion and care for everyone in the room. She established safety and structure that allowed people to open up. The event brought people together with polarized opinions to stand in some common ground and to practice listening to one another. Nearly 70 members of our local Jewish community participated.

�The small group in which I participated had an incredible healing experience. There were five of us whose politics and identities ranged from Israeli, Zionist, pro-BDS, anti-occupation, and Mizrahi Jew. If in the beginning there was some suspicion or reluctance to be connected, at the end there were tears and we huddled close and held hands. Some of us were celebrating the victory of the Co-op boycott, while others of us were angry and scared. In that moment of time we were able to transcend our political differences and hold the grief of our collective history. Our ideas for next steps were all different, but what happened is that we felt empathy for one another and where we come from in this complex conflict. I came out of the event feeling a sense of belonging to my Jewish community as well as to my activist community. Thank you for sharing this gift with us!�

�Dalya Perez, Olympia, WA

“We’d like to thank the Jewish Dialogue Group and Mitch Chanin for their invaluable help in planning for our May 2009 “Jews in All Hues” gathering for adult children of interfaith families, co-sponsored with Birthright Israel NEXT. Two members of our planning team had previous training and experience as facilitators with the Jewish Dialogue Group and drew on that experience, as well advice from JDG’s staff, in creating the conference. Using methods developed by JDG, we were able to frame questions that stimulated constructive conversations and created safe space for people to discuss their complex identities as dual-heritage Jews; their experiences, needs, and challenges; and their hopes and visions for the Jewish community. These methods helped us to create an environment in which participants said that they felt respected as whole human beings, sometimes for the first time. Our gathering of 30 dual heritage Jews is just the beginning of an ongoing project to create ways to support and empower Jewish children of interfaith families and bring their voices to the table.”

�Mira Colflesh, Program Associate
InterFaithways: Interfaith Family Support Network

“The Jewish Dialogue Group was a partner in ‘Love, Hate and the Jewish State,’ a unique dialogue that brought together over a hundred Jewish social justice activists in New York City to explore their feelings on Israel and their own work. Not only did JDG’s facilitators complement the dialogue team we assembled, but Mitch Chanin helped hone our questions and co-led our facilitator orientation. As a co-sponsor, they went above and beyond the call of duty. We hope to continue our project and our relationship with JDG.”

�Ben Murane, New Israel Fund, Director of New Generations