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Congregational Conversations

Conversation is a form of prayer. This idea is the foundation of the Congregational Conversations series — to bring us together in an open and honest dialogue, to bridge our differences, and to build a stronger community.

At this critical time, we have reinstated our Congregational Conversations series to open a discussion on our relationship to Israel. We believe education and dialogue will be crucial in enabling us to meet the challenges American Jewry and Israel face in the years ahead. Join us for a series of keynotes, conversations, and seminars.

Keynote with Yossi Klein Halevi


Yossi Klein Halevi of Israel’s Shalom Hartman Institute will join us at Temple on Monday, March 13 at 7:00 pm to discuss "Balancing Self-Preservation and Other Moral Values," transforming a conversation that is often about advocacy to one about values.

Halevi is the author of Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, which won the Jewish Book Council's Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award, and he is a regular voice in the op-ed pages of leading American newspapers. He is also the author of the 2001 book, At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. His first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, told the story of his teenage attraction to, and subsequent disillusionment with Jewish militancy. The New York Times called it “a book of burning importance.”

Halevi is active in Middle East reconciliation work and serves as chairman of Open House, an Arab Israeli-Jewish Israeli center in the town of Ramle, near Tel Aviv. He was one of the founders of the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Media Forum, which brought together Israeli and Palestinian journalists.

Born in New York, Halevi has a B.A. in Jewish studies from Brooklyn College and an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University. He moved to Israel in 1982 and lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Sarah, a landscape designer. They have three children.

Halevi comes to WHC as part of Shalom Hartman Institute's iEngage Project, which seeks to create a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. This narrative serves as a foundation for a new covenant between Israel and world Jewry, elevating the existing discourse from one with a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas. Led by a team of internationally renowned scholars in the fields of Jewish studies, Middle East politics, and history, iEngage is committed to addressing core questions pertaining to the necessity and significance of the State of Israel.

Register to join us for this event.

This community-wide lecture is presented in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Embassy of Israel.

This is the second event in our Congregational Conversations series and will feature discussions for WHC members later in the week.

Congregational Conversations@WHC Academy


Congregational Conversations@WHC Academy: American Jews and Israel
A Three-Session Taste of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage
Mondays, April 24 - May 8
Taught by Stephanie Tankel, Director of Religious School

Join beloved educator Stephanie Tankel as she introduces us to the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage program —multimedia curriculum that affords American Jews the opportunity to study with some of the finest minds in Israel. The Hartman Institute is a pluralistic center of research and education deepening and elevating the quality of Jewish life in Israel and around the world. Rabbi Lustig is a member of its prestigious Rabbinic Leadership Institute. This three-session “taste of” iEngage will focus on three core issues, “foundations of a new relationship with Israel;” “a shared homeland for a divided people;” and “Jewish values and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” This course is one facet of WHC's partnership with the Hartman Institute and will be a prelude to WHC’s launch of the full iEngage program next year.

WHC Academy costs $25 for members and $54 for non-members per semester.

Click here to learn more and register for this semester.

Past Keynotes

How do you make interfaith dialogue work? At an interfaith service, Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, and Bruce Feiler spoke on how interfaith cooperation can transform the ongoing conversation on faith and extremism at the local and national levels.

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