Bay Area Facilitation Training Intensive

Bay Area Facilitation Training Intensive

Resetting the Table (RTT) and the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund invite applications for a 5-month virtual training for Jewish professionals in facilitating courageous conversations across differences on Israel, U.S. politics, and other charged issues in Jewish life. We are especially looking for educators, rabbis, and other professionals with prior facilitation experience or skills who wish to expand their ability to support communication across divides on charged political issues within their communities and networks. Those serving young adult communities are especially encouraged to apply.

Participants will learn Resetting the Table’s methodology for facilitating group conversations across divides and train to lead RTT’s flagship Speaking Across Conflict workshop. Participants will receive individualized coaching as well as consultation on how to bring the tools and skills they have learned back to their individual contexts.

Cost for the training is $500, generously subsidized by The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. A limited number of scholarships are available. 

To apply, complete this application by November 15. 

For more details, see the FAQ below or send inquiries to info@resettingthetable.org.

Timeline and Important Dates

The Facilitation Training Intensive includes one 5.5-hour, virtual training session followed by eight additional 2.5-hour training sessions, three coached practice sessions, and a one-on-one consultation session with RTT staff.

Schedule (all times in PST):

  • Thursday, January 13, 10am-3:30pm (with an extended break for lunch). Skills I and II: Following Meaning and Demonstrating Understanding
  • Friday, January 14, 10am-12:30pm. Skill III: Naming Differences
  • Week of January 17. Coached Practice Session in Pairs (One 90 min session scheduled around trainees’ availability)
  • Thursday, January 27, 10am-12:30pm. Skills IV and V: Connecting the Dots and Bridging
  • Thursday, February 3, 10am-12:30pm. Putting It All Together – trainees will utilize the skills while facilitating open conversation
  • Thursday, February 10, 10am-12:30pm. Dealing with Challenging Group Dynamics I
  • Thursday, February 17, 10am-12:30pm. Dealing with Challenging Group Dynamics II
  • Weeks of February 21 and 28. Coached Practice Session (One 90-minute practice session scheduled around trainee's availability. Trainees will recruit three volunteer participants for this session)
  • Weeks of February 21 and 28. Mid-point One-on-One check-in with RTT staff
  • Thursday, March 10, 10am-12:30pm. Introductory Overview to the Speaking Across Conflict Workshop
  • Weeks of March 13 and 20. Practice Sessions for Leading SAC Workshop
  • Thursday, March 31, 10am-12:30pm. Practical Applications and Full-Group Closing
  • April-June. Trainees will facilitate workshops and small group conversations within their own communities, with support from RTT staff

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Resetting the Table?

Resetting the Table (RTT) is dedicated to building meaningful dialogue and deliberation across political divides. Drawing from facilitation and mediation expertise, Resetting the Table’s unique approach supports participants to move through charged conversations with trained facilitators and carefully structured process, designed to support stakeholders to speak, listen, challenge each other, and make decisions together with honesty, mutual recognition and respect. RTT has provided communication skill-building workshops, multi-narrative educational sessions, and consultation to hundreds of communities and organizations, including 100+ college campuses, 30+ Jewish Federations, and hundreds of other organizations across the country.

What are the goals of the program?

  • Equip a select group of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish professionals with practical tools and skills to facilitate charged conversations on Israel and other contentious topics
  • Build confidence, skill, and hands-on experience in opening up meaningful dialogue across differences in Jewish communities, applicable to programs from Israel trips to educational programming to contentious decision-making
  • Create a core group of Bay Area facilitators who will champion and model courageous, constructive conversations across differences in Bay Area Jewish communities and beyond

What are the objectives for participants?

  • Participants will learn and practice five core facilitation skills for achieving collaborative conversations across differences
  • Participants will build capacity to use these skills in the course of structured and free-flowing conversation to support participants to achieve receptivity while addressing differences directly
  • Participants will learn and practice an approach to troubleshooting challenging group dynamics 
  • Participants will learn to teach and facilitate a full program to bring this approach to their communities
  • Participants will model dialogue across differences with one another

Who should apply?

Professionals serving one or more SF Bay Area Jewish institutions are encouraged to apply, including campus, congregational, young adult, day school, and other Jewish organizations. 

Applicants should share RTT’s commitment to building a culture of dialogue and deliberation across differences, by which we mean supporting open communication where there is currently avoidance or tension over differences of views, background, or experience. Ideal participants will already have experience in facilitating groups in professional settings (e.g., educators, social workers, mediators, staff managers/directors, clergy, etc.). 

Resetting the Table’s facilitators help participants “go toward the heat” to explore their differences directly. As such, participants themselves must be comfortable with difference and disagreement and able to sustain connection and empathy to all parties as differences emerge. Seasoned facilitators must be willing to learn, practice, and employ a distinct methodological framework that may be different than the approaches they regularly use. 

What will participants receive?

  • Resetting the Table’s Facilitation Framework. This program offers one of the most rigorous facilitation trainings in the country for communicating across political differences. Participants will learn RTT’s celebrated facilitation framework and receive hands-on practice and customized coaching tailored to their learning needs. RTT’s skill-building exercises and framework provide valuable professional development for anyone interested in supporting communication across differences or disagreements.
  • Our Support to Facilitate Dialogue in Your Community. Participants will receive replicable tools and modalities they can utilize to strengthen communication, trust, and collaboration across lines of differences in their communities. They will also receive consultation on how to tailor the RTT toolkit to use in their home institution. When appropriate, RTT will support participants to utilize practice sessions directly in their professional or communal contexts. 

What are expectations and time commitment?

  • Personal commitment: Participants must be ready, willing, and able to participate in constructive, direct conversations across differences on charged issues with one another, even when they strongly disagree. This does not mean that they will be asked to check their own views and passions at the door. Rather, it means that participants must have the desire and disposition to engage across differences in the spirit of our project.
  • Institutional commitment: Participants’ home institutions should be supportive of the trainee’s goals to bring RTT skills and tools back to their context, with support from their supervisor to build this work into their portfolio.
  • Time commitment during the program: During the training period, participants will be expected to attend all sessions (outlined above) as well as review and reflect on their learning goals and needs with RTT staff. A few training components will require participants to recruit volunteers to participate in facilitated conversations. RTT will work with all training participants to recruit volunteers, but we ask that you commit to helping secure volunteers.
  • Time commitment after the program: After completion of the program, we expect that facilitators will have the bandwidth, flexibility and desire to implement at least one program in their home institutions and to integrate the tools and skills they have learned into their contexts. 

What do past participants in RTT’s facilitation training say about the experience?

"This was the most in-depth and professional-level facilitation training I have encountered. RTT staff clearly have developed a quality methodology deeply grounded in some of the most essential conflict management practices and theories. Immersing myself in this methodology was incredibly valuable personally and professionally… After completing this training, I feel empowered to hold conversations across some of our community’s deepest divides, and as a result, hopefully help foster a more resilient and thriving community." - Maia Ferdman, Program Manager at UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy

"Resetting the Table Facilitator training gave me a new language and methodology for holding difficult conversations. The ability to not deflect tension and difference but to address it head on can sound frightening, but it actually creates a space where people with very different points of view feel heard and seen. [RTT’s coaches are] incredibly gifted facilitators and trainers. They have a wonderful and engaging presence that allows adult learners to feel comfortable asking questions and creating an environment to grow. I hope to use these skills in whatever future position I may hold - and at home. Thank you for giving me these tools." - Jill Hoyt, Chief Operating Officer, Giving Back Fund

"Simply put, this is the best professional development program I have participated in. The framework is simple, sophisticated, and most importantly, effective… These skills are a must-have for anyone who works in the Jewish community or engages in conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." - Zach Schaefer, Executive Director, Conference of Young Jewish Presidents 

"The work Resetting the Table does to help people be in honest and safe dialogue with each other over difficult topics is simply holy!! Our world is plagued by our inability to sit at the same table and hear things we don't agree with, and getting to learn how to help people do that through RTT was invaluable to me as a rabbi, a Jewish educator, and as a human being living in 2020 America. I can't thank this organization enough for all it’s given me and countless others." - Rabbi Ilana Zietman, Community Rabbi, Gather DC, DC Facilitation Trainee

"The Resetting the Table facilitation training program is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who works with groups that undertake the consideration of important matters. Whether discussing Israel, American politics, or local matters, the skills and strategies taught in this program equip facilitators to engage discussants in deep and meaningful conversations where all of the participants are invited to speak their minds with the assurance that they will be respectfully heard. Resetting the Table uniquely provides a safe space for people of divergent backgrounds, ages, and points of view to engage with others in civil conversation about difficult matters. The RTT facilitation intensive will continue to stand out as a highlight among the many and varied learning opportunities that have punctuated my career.” - Rochelle Ginsburg, Principal, Stephen Wise Elementary School

"During one of RTT’s exercises, I was paired with someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Through RTT’s structured process, in 20 minutes, our relationship tangibly transformed from what might have been rigid adversaries to warm and receptive colleagues. To feel and notice the change in myself so rapidly felt like an ‘a-ha’ moment for the transformative power of Resetting the Table's approach." - Rabbi Alex Kress, Reform Senior Educator, Hillel UCLA

"I deeply appreciate the time dedicated to understanding the pedagogical/paradigmatic underpinnings of the methodology – one that is unique; considers how many other methodologies of facilitation are failing; and produces extraordinary, authentic connections between human beings. Committing to many months of focus on what makes difficult conversations successful and meaningful has been enormously useful in my day-to-day, professionally speaking. It has reminded me that every conversation can matter if it is conducted thoughtfully which opens up so many opportunities to seek and find meaning. It was enormously valuable." - Meg Sullivan, Director, JCC Harlem

"I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity to be part of this training and this cohort – I think being able to facilitate conversations like this is a learned skill that can only happen through a supportive community of practice, and that these kinds of conversation are crucial for healing our fractured community. It feels incredibly energizing to be part of the solution, and to do that in such a way that still enables me to grow and learn, without being polarized to a particular side of the discourse myself." - Rabbi Lauren Henderson, Or Chadash