ASF – Resetting the Table Grants
We are proud to continue our ongoing funding for and partnership with Resetting the Table (RTT), an organization that builds meaningful dialogue and deliberation on Israel across differences in background and views. Through intensive training, skilled facilitation and institutional consultation, RTT works to transform dominant norms of communication on Israel from avoidance and antagonism toward collaborative deliberation.
In 2018 ASF provided grants for 14 selected campus Hillels across the United States to receive customized programs to address their individual needs and build the capacity of students to talk, study, and deliberate together about Israel, across differences in background and views.
Illustrating by example, the following are some testimonials from recent ASF Resetting the Table workshops at various colleges and universities:
Our facilitator’s] presence and facilitation made our conversations possible. I feel like I now have a framework for engaging across difference that I did not have before. I am grateful that this workshop came to my campus, as it feels like the Jewish community here is steeped in silence around the issues of Israel/Palestine. Through this workshop, we were able to engage without hostility, and I felt like it was a rare moment in mutual understanding and acknowledgment of where we were all coming from. It was helpful to see how different (and similar!) the complexities of our visions are through the surfacing differences activity and to be able to speak about these differences with eagerness instead of anger.
–Hattie, Williams College
I’ve never felt confident discussing Israel with my friends, Jewish or non-Jewish. This event really helped me to be able to engage this topic in depth from multiple angles.
-Jacob, UNC Greensboro student
This program was honest, but not brutal… I remember one moment when I suddenly understood that I have been demonizing the other side this whole time. It broke my heart… This gives me a new respect for Israel, and everything they deal with, but also has enabled me to be more understanding of the other side, which is a great tool to have.
-Elana, North Carolina State University student
This workshop felt exactly like the work that needs to be happening across the Jewish community and the country as a whole. It felt very productive, and I wish that everyone in any sort of conflict could do a workshop like this. I feel like it significantly increased empathy between those of us in the room. A powerful moment for me was having a real conversation with someone who previously had scared me a lot from afar, and feeling like I was both listening to her and she was listening to me.
-Williams student (requested anonymity)
This academic year (2018-19) we are continuing to provide grants for a limited number of campuses to take part in these programs. If you would like to learn more or apply for a grant for your campus, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include Resetting the Table Grant in the subject.
In addition, ASF has funded training sessions facilitated by Resetting the Table that included a two-day Intensive for 16 Hillel professionals and a workshop for 40 professionals and Hillel International Board members. Both Hillel professionals and student leaders received training in the Resetting the Table model and were given skills and materials to take back to their respective campuses. See testimonials here.
“Resetting the Table reignited my enthusiasm for Israel education at UVA. The workshop demonstrated that conversations about Israel can provoke meaningful stories that provide insight into an individuals’ values and experiences. I truly valued sessions concerning active listening and reflection, which not only enhances the quality of the conversation, but also strengthens the relationship… I am confident my participation in the workshop has helped me to become a better professional.”
-Melissa, Director of Jewish Engagement, UVA, HIGA Pre-Institute participant
“The training has helped me be more comfortable on how to lead a discussion around Israel on a campus that has very conflicting opinions. Resetting the Table…gave tools to help have dialogue around Israel whether there is no current conversation or an existing adversarial conversation. It has made me feel more confident about teaching student leaders how to have difficult discussions and to have understanding for other students who do not share the same opinions…I suggest it for all Jewish organizations!”
-Corie, Jewish Life Associate, North Carolina Hillel, HIGA Pre-Institute participant
“The framing, creation of a safe space and facilitation made this an outstanding experience… Most conversations around Israel tend to be so emotionally charged. I thought that this empowered me and others to share points of view without a great deal of judgment — very powerful.”
-Jill Smith, Hillel International board member, HIGA Workshop participant
“Today’s event was fantastic. [Our facilitator] was immensely knowledgeable and talented… It was a true gem of an event. Realistic, helpful, and thought-provoking…I feel I learned a great amount in three hours, and strongly recommend Speaking Across Conflict to anybody who wants to better their ability to have deep, complex conversations about things that matter. The [facilitation] training is not only helpful in learning how to facilitate conversations for other people but also amazing in terms of learning how to be a better listener and contribute to conversations in meaningful ways…This experience did and will continue to help me have meaningful and productive conversations about Israel while not shying away from the difficult topics associated with it.”
-Noa, Student Leader, Colby College Speaking across Conflict Workshop and Facilitation Training participant
More About Resetting the Table
RTT has no positional agenda. Rather, it seeks to build constructive and direct conversation on some of the most important and fraught issues facing the Jewish people. To date, RTT has directly reached more than 11,800 participants and hundreds of Jewish communal organizations, including 15 Federations and JCRCs, 40 campuses, rabbinical seminaries, JCCs, and synagogues across the country. Resetting the Table has designed a large and growing toolkit of processes that support participants to speak, listen, challenge each other, and make difficult decisions together with honesty, mutual recognition, and respect. Resetting the Table’s unique approach supports participants to move through charged conversations with trained facilitators and process design that draw from expertise in conflict resolution, mediation, and facilitation.
ASF Innovation Grants are an invitation-only opportunity. These grants provide funding for innovative programs that promote original, creative and visionary concepts that foster Avi’s values of empathy, mutual respect, and active listening. These grants will focus on one or both of the following two areas of interest:
- Promoting open and respectful discourse within the Jewish community, specifically surrounding conversations about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.
- Fostering interfaith understanding and cross-cultural encounters.