Resetting the Table (RTT) and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles invite Jewish organizations to apply to be part of our inaugural Convener Cohort to help us foster meaningful conversations across charged political differences in Greater Los Angeles Jewish life. Participating institutions will work with RTT staff -- veterans in the fields of Israel engagement, facilitation, and conflict resolution -- to design and implement programs tailored to the needs of their communities, receiving a highly subsidized package of training, consultation, tools, resources, and access to trained facilitators.
Each organization that applies and is chosen as a Convener will select two team members to participate, including at least one staff person positioned to participate in the training, implement programs, and serve as the lead contact. Over the course of 10 months, these teams will be introduced to RTT’s celebrated approach and practical toolkit for opening up welcoming, constructive discussion across charged differences.
Eight institutions will be selected to participate in the 2019-20 Convener Cohort. Cost for the program is $500. The program is generously supported by a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.
To apply, institutions should complete this application by June 10, 2019. For more details, see the FAQ below or send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, enabling 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 in 30 US states, Canada, and Israel, including 75+ college campuses, 25 Jewish Federations, and dozens of innovation sector and other major Jewish organizations.
What are the goals of the program?
In the face of an increasingly polarized and toxic political environment, this program aims to support Jewish communities throughout greater Los Angeles to foster healthy and important discussion and learning across divides on Israel and other charged issues. The program will support participating institutions to transform tension, fear and/or avoidance of difficult conversations into direct, respectful exploration and collaboration.
What is the role of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles?
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is excited to partner with Resetting the Table to bring productive discussion across divides in order to build a healthier and stronger community. The Federation, as a “convener among conveners” of the community, is best poised to do this work in partnership with Resetting the Table, using our expertise with the local Jewish community and history of community engagement to tailor RTT’s model to Los Angeles.
What will Conveners do as part of the cohort?
Convening organizations will organize programs that customize RTT’s road-tested toolkit to:
Foster communication where there is currently avoidance or tension, enabling stakeholders to talk openly about Israel or other charged issues without judgment or pressure to conform to any given views
Bring community members into conversation with new, diverse partners
Provide spaces for those who have been eager to learn, question, listen, and deliberate across differences, but have not found the right forums to do so
Collaborate with other Conveners, if they so choose, to bring their respective constituencies together, opening up new bridges of conversation and relationships across networks
What will participants receive?
Team members from convening institutions will receive:
Training with leading experts in the fields of Israel engagement, mediation and facilitation
Ongoing support, resources, and consultation to help Conveners design programs
Use of our intensively trained facilitators, as needed and as able, for Convener events
Thanks to a generous grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, this package of in-person training, facilitation, and consultation – ordinarily valued at $7500 per institution – will be included with the $500 cost of participation.
Convening organizations will be expected to:
Implement at least one event/process, including logistics and recruitment, that meets the program’s goals
Make a good faith effort to bring to bear whatever personal and/or institutional resources are available to help support the production and implementation of Convener events
Cover the Convener participation fee of $500
Participating team members will be expected to:
Be ready, willing, and able to participate in direct, constructive conversations and collaboration across political differences. 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. They must be willing to engage personally in open conversations as part of the training process, so as to experience first-hand at least some of the processes they are likely to convene.
Participate in the full two-day opening training on Sept. 10-11
Participate in an average of 4-5 visioning and design conversations with Resetting the Table staff to craft appropriate process(es) for their communities
Which organizations should apply?
The right Conveners will be organizations and/or communities who are eager to build a culture of honest, productive dialogue across divides in their contexts. The professional staff representatives should be “doers” and “connecters” who are committed to the mission of the program and empowered to bring programming home through this initiative.
Resetting the Table’s programs help participants “go toward the heat” to explore their differences directly. As such, Conveners themselves must be comfortable with difference and disagreement and able to sustain empathy and centeredness, even in the presence of views significantly different from their own. They do not need to have any particular background or formal training to apply.
What is the bigger picture of the Federation and RTT’s work together in Los Angeles?
Resetting the Table’s work in Los Angeles is run in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and supported by a Cutting Edge Grant by The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. The Federation and Resetting the Table have made a three-year investment to building a wave of training and dialogue opportunities in Los Angeles. Convening institutions completing Convener cohort applications now will be considered for the first of two cohorts.
In addition to these programs, we will select three cohorts of Facilitation Fellows for intensive facilitation training. These two programs will be mutually beneficial and reinforcing: Facilitation Fellows will be trained to support Convener programs, and Conveners will provide opportunities for direct practice for Facilitation Fellows.
“Resetting the Table is one of the most thoughtful Jewish initiatives I have participated in. Their team is expert at training and facilitating folks to listen to each other on a deep level. As someone whose professional background has been involved in dialogue about Israel, I was surprised that through the training my own capacity for listening grew. And, when trained facilitators came to the synagogue I belong to, I witnessed a real break-through in being able to talk across the diversity of my community's opinions about Israel.” - Reuven, Director of Israel Engagement, URJ
“The work they do is thoughtful and long-lasting. Their facilitators help people have difficult conversations, but also set people up to continue to have these conversations long after the facilitators have gone home. I use their techniques to run multiple Israel-related programs every year.” - Shira, Senior Rabbi, Sixth and I
“Too often schools and shuls shy away from discussing difficult topics, which only exacerbates fear and alienation. Resetting the Table brings these ‘scary’ topics to the fore, and offers tangible, implementable skills to Jewish leaders and thus the community as a whole.” – Hannah, Israel Educator, Shalhevet
“Your program was one of those key experiences in the shul that we will say helped define it over a decade. It had that deep impact. I think we will see dividends over years.” – Carl, Rabbi
“Without RTT, we wouldn’t have felt we had the power or capacity to change the status quo. This will have a lasting impact. Every time I enter the building, I see people who say we have done something great here.” – Alan, Synagogue President
“Simply put, this has been the best professional development program I have participated in as a professional. The conceptual framework of Resetting the Table can only be described as brilliant. It 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, Executive Director, Council of Young Jewish Presidents
“Our community has been talking about talking about Israel for quite some time now. Despite the will, we haven't seemed to find our way… Resetting the table's facilitation protocol feels like the ingredient that's been missing.” – Lisa, Department Chair, Gann Academy
“The RTT facilitators have been incredible - they upped my game, increased my skills, and boosted my confidence. The modalities are incredible - they are basic, adaptable, usable, and truly help build an open space for dialogue.” – Susannah, Campus Support Director, Hillel International
“I just want to let you know that your seminar is one of the best things that happened since I started this job. I think that every Jewish educator in the world needs to take part in this program. I feel that in one day I got my confidence back to speak about Israel.” – Michal, former Israel Fellow, JCC Association
Common programs we bring to campuses and communities.
Building a field of skilled practitioners.
Teaching leaders to build a culture of dialogue and deliberation for their constituents.
Bridging American divides.