On the Nature of Our Engagements with Israel

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“…We’ve spoken about Diaspora Jews sharing in the burdens and hopes of the Jewish People, and, in contrast we’ve noted with some disdain how some American Jews choose to try to escape from Jewish history. Surely the objective ought to be to encourage Jews from both Israel and the Diaspora to participate in Jewish history as it unfolds – to shape it, to become part of it. ….. In short, perhaps the ideal Israel engagement program is one that combines all four of these elements [Purpose, Power, Participation, Peoplehood]: It involves people from both Israel and the Diaspora using their own power and influence to participate in a project together for some greater ideological purpose.”

Philosopher’s Retreat, New York, September 2003


Assuming that our participants understand and agree with the concept that engagement with Israel is a core component of our Jewish identity*: What is their vision of this engagement? What do we perceive to be the ideal ways of actively engaging with Israel? What are the ultimate (or desired) outcomes of our engagement with Israel? What is the real nature of participants’ engagement with Israel? Do their visions of engagement and their reality intersect? How active and/or passive should we be within Israeli society? What is our role, if any, in Israeli society? These and other questions will be at the heart of this discussion.


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