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Israel & Zionism
Zionism: A New Doctrine for Pluralism in the Jewish Community
The American Jewish community conversation about Israel is increasingly defined by bitter generational and ideological divides. This talk explores why American Jews tend to relate to Israel in one of two ways and how we can bridge this gap in our Israel discourse and education. Zachary offers a fresh paradigm through which to understand the two fundamental (and competing) relationships most American Jews have with Israel, and how we can forge a path forward.
Reclaiming Zionism as a Progressive Cause
Zionism was once understood as a moral and legitimate movement. Now, many Jews argue we should abandon the “Z” word altogether. But Zionism is our people’s what, our how, and, most importantly, our why. The Zionist story has an unrivaled potential to resonate with progressives and other diverse constituencies, but it is not a story we have been telling.
Talking to Progressives About Israel
A 2019 national Gallup survey found that liberal Democrats have the lowest net sympathy for Israel among any American demographic. Why is it that so many progressives are agnostic about the Jewish state, if not actively hostile toward it? In this program, Zachary explores why traditional Israel advocacy methods often fall short and he offers three new frameworks through which progressives can relate to Israel and Zionism through their own lens.
Israel-Palestinian Reconciliation: Paving a Path Forward
Zachary is President of an Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking organization and previously managed Interfaith Partners for Peace, where he brought national clergy delegations to study conflict and reconciliation in the Middle East. He has firsthand experience with shared society work on the ground which is de-escalating tensions, de-radicalizing those prone to violence, and creating constituencies that support political change.
Starting with Why: What’s your Israel Story? (Workshop)
Reason alone rarely rivals a compelling story that engages both the heart and the head. In this workshop, we will learn to articulate our Israel stories. We will answer two questions: Why do I care about Israel and why should others? Together, we will craft personal narratives that cultivate empathy, create connections, and dismantle the defensiveness of those who hear them. We will study a proven storytelling methodology and develop narratives that persuade and inspire.
Understanding the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement
Why is the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement so effective? While at the Israel Action Network, Zachary spent years searching for an answer to this question and testing national and local initiatives to see what works. In this talk, we explore the history, strategies, and emerging trends of the BDS movement. This session will help participants better understand why the BDS Movement is so persistent, what motivates its supporters, and how to engage with those who advocate for it.
Israel-Diaspora Relations in the 21st Century
Text Studies on Zionism
Zachary offers customized text studies on Zionism, Israel-Diaspora relations, and Jewish Peoplehood. He will work with your group to design a text study that delivers exactly what you need to reach your group's goals. These are best for small group conversations with participants who want to dive into a miscellany of original and contemporary sources with a facilitator.
Israel Advocacy vs. Israel Education
Polarization, Conflict, & Civil Discourse
Pluralism in an Age of Polarization
Too often, we find ourselves struggling to understand the "other" and communicate constructively across divides. We are left wondering why we are so bitterly divided and if we can transcend this new normal. Zachary has been searching for answers to this question by placing himself at the center of healing complex political divides his whole life.
Being an Ambassador of Civil Discourse on Social Media (Workshop)
information, interact with our friends, and engage in political activism. Though it may seem like changing someone's mind on a Facebook thread is an impossible feat, it is actually very possible. In this session we explore the sources of digital conflict, learn techniques to de-escalate online, and discuss how we can model civil discourse and even change minds
How to Thrive in Emotionally Charged Conversations (Workshop)
Diversity is a Fact; Pluralism is an Achievement
It has been said that while diversity is a fact, pluralism is an achievement. Diversity is simply the presence of difference; it is a demographic reality. We all know that bringing different populations together does not always precipitate peaceful or productive outcomes. Diversity is the culprit of unspeakable horrors, prejudices, and discrimination. But it is also the source of incredible innovation, productivity, and competitive advantage. It can mean conflict or co-existence. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide which.
This talk explores this concept and offers some strategies for taking advantage of diversity, rather than being taken advantage by it.
Transcending Tribalism: Overcoming our Partisan Minds
Humans are prewired toward tribalism and groupishness. In fact, countless studies show that introducing any noticable difference between even identical groups will reliably stimulate behavior that flows from tribal psychology. Even if we would like to think otherwise, we do not experience the world as disinterested observers. We often ignore fact-based evidence in favor of confirming our pre-existing perceptions, validating our values, and enhancing our cultural identities.
Influence & Persuasion
The Art of Influence: Changing Hearts, Minds, & Actions (Workshop)
What makes a leader or a story so powerful that it persuades and inspires masses of people? How can we create enduring support for ourselves and our causes? This is not a motivational talk; this is a talk about motivating. This is a conversation about how to be liked and build trust. This is not about manipulating others; it is about empowering and enabling them. Whether you wish to enlist people for your cause or win that argument with your friends over where to brunch, this will give you the tools to do so.
Telling Your Advocacy Narrative (Workshop)
Reason alone rarely rivals a compelling story that engages both the heart and the head. In this workshop, we craft our values into stories that cultivate empathy, create connections, and dismantle the defensiveness of those who hear them. We study a proven storytelling
methodology and develop narratives that persuade and inspire. Whether you wish to advocate for a cause or fundraise for your organization, this storytelling program will help you to transform bland talking points into powerful pitches.
Jewish Christian Relations in America Today: Challenges & Opportunities
This interactive talk for Christian audiences explores the history of Jewish-Christian relations, antisemitism, and Jewish trauma. It includes a discussion on the differences and similarities between Christian faith and Jewish identity and on the sensibilities of both communities. It ends with some practical tips for enhancing Jewish-Christian encounters.
When Opposites Attract: Navigating Relational Diversity
How did a conservative Christian Republicans and a liberal Jewish Democrat become best friends? Join this conversation as two young professionals discuss how they forged an unlikely friendship which has transformed their capacity for dialogue and their understanding of the "other."
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