This difficult time has amplified divisions within and across many of our communities. As communities continue to grapple with the impacts of Covid-19, a looming presidential election, nation-wide protests, and political changes in Israel, Resetting the Table (RTT) and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles invite Jewish organizations to apply to be part of our Virtual 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 online 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 2020-21 Virtual 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.
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 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 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 will Conveners do as part of the cohort?
Convening organizations will organize online 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:
Virtual Training with leading experts in the fields of Israel engagement, mediation and facilitation
Ongoing support, resources, and consultation to help Conveners design online programs
Use of our intensively trained facilitators, as needed and as able, for virtual Convener events
Thanks to a generous grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, this package of 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 online 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 Virtual Opening Training, including a 4.5 hour Workshop on Sun. Oct. 18. An additional four sessions (2-3 hours each) will be scheduled between Oct. 19-Nov. 19, taking into account participants' schedules and needs.
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 “connectors” 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 from 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.
"Fabulous. We hope to use the RTT toolkit throughout our synagogue's programming and identity. I'm excited to have RTT as a resource now moving forward -- not just for the one project, but beyond...." - Rabbi Sarah Bassin, Associate Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
"Although a trained professional facilitator, I left the RTT training with a new toolbox, one that included very usable skills and models for how to promote discussion and listening, focusing on the person in front of you instead of your own biases and 'gut reactions'… [Our trainers were] just excellent in every respect--knowledgeable, accessible, supportive, engaging in guiding us through two days of training, leaving us exhausted but incredibly energized about putting into practice what we have experienced. As we move forward in our own setting, I look forward to my institution’s continued work with RTT. Absolutely invaluable." - Sally Weber, Lay Leader, Congregation Valley Beth Shalom
"The workshop was a great experience to dialogue with different leaders from disparate parts of our community. It was also a wonderful opportunity for me to see model facilitators at work and learn from their expertise. I'm excited to use RTT’s toolkit in my regular teaching practice as well as to facilitate larger community conversations around contentious issues." - Na'amit Nagel, Faculty Member, Shalhevet High School
"RTT's facilitators were *outstanding* as instructors. They really knew how to push us in a way that helped us to acknowledge our mistakes without making us feel like we "did it wrong." Our national culture of conversation is becoming so toxic. So many family and friends can no longer talk with one another about issues that are dear to them. Our relationships – the very fabric of our lives – are being torn apart. Enter Resetting the Table. Rather than shying away from the tension that causes the rifts in our society, Resetting the Table helps people to embrace it in a healthy and productive way. It gives people, families, and institutions a framework to help create and enhance dialogue between people and groups that otherwise might not be able to speak to another. By bringing us all back to the proverbial table, RTT just might be able to help us save our communities before it's too late." - Rabbi Adam Schaffer, Director of Jewish Learning & Living, Temple Aliyah
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.