One of the most important needs of the Jewish community is open spaces for discussion and dialogue about Judaism, Zionism and Israel. Such spaces were created in the last year, some by campus-based activists and others by ‘leftist’ peace activists. One such open space is the Creative Zionist Circle, which ipso facto limits its discussions to the context of Zionism. The meetings are extremely interesting. Another political circle is the Israel Forum (co-founded by myself) which is more concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promotion of political diversity. I think these discussions circles are very important as they create alternative spaces for people to discuss views which do not find their way through the institutionalized American-Jewry. Jewschool becomes sometimes some kind of online political circle.

Ariel Beery, co-founder of the Creative Zionist Circle, pointed out today in the circle’s website the need for having decentralized circles around the issue of Zionism. I would like to extend this call also to discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Zionist/Post-Zionist/Anti-Zionist debate and of course all topics that can be included under the general umbrella of Judaism.

A fellow activist from Philadelphia started a Jewish Dialogue program. This is a great resource to check out if you are thinking of facilitating dialogue. I would encourage you all to formalize political and cultural circles in your community.