In recent months, our community has expressed a desire to address the growing divides in our country through thoughtful discourse. In response, we will be inviting our members to take part in groups that will examine how we can engage in more constructive disagreement.
The curriculum will be grounded in the Jewish concept of makhloet l’shem shamayim – arguments for the sake of heaven – and framed by a three-part speaker series. We’ll kick off on Wednesday, April 5 with Professor Jonathan Haidt, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Drawing on both Jewish and secular texts, these Omer CORE Groups will allow members to understand why diversity of opinion is so important, and how we can learn to listen to and respect those with whom we disagree.
CORE groups are intentional, lay-led communities, whose members come together on a regular basis with the understanding that Jewish tradition and deep personal relationships add meaning to our lives. CORE groups are defined by their members’ commitment to engage in a process of transformational learning, reflection and relationship-building.
Central Synagogue’s CORE group strategy reflects our mission: to connect our members more deeply to one another, to our community, to Jewish tradition, and to God.
Because the focus of CORE Groups is on building sacred relationships, the most important “texts” that will ground these discussions will be the Torah each member has to offer based on his or her own life experiences. However, in order to facilitate deep and meaningful conversation, and to help connect your lived experiences to Jewish tradition, we offer a number of discussion series.
We ask that each member commit to completing the series chosen by the group. At the end of a series, a group may choose to conclude, or may choose to start another series based on members’ interests. If group members would prefer to ground their discussions in content other than that which is offered in these series (or to create a customized program using materials from two or more series), they are of course welcome to do so.