Featured Partner

Resetting the Table Expands Efforts to Create Meaningful Dialogue

April 23rd, 2021

Amidst a hyper-polarized, often heated environment of public discourse, Resetting the Table (RTT) helps communities “go toward the heat” and engage people in constructive conversations through highly skilled facilitators and trainers. In 2020, with a national election, the movement for racial justice, Israel’s shifting landscape, and a pandemic, RTT expanded to train even more Jewish professionals to navigate challenging conversations through meaningful dialogue.

As the pandemic began, RTT quickly adapted to offer shorter virtual professional development trainings and coaching to communities and organizations around the country. Whether an organization focuses on Israel engagement, young adults, campus, teens, the innovation sector, or other spaces, leaders learn how to integrate RTT’s tools and skills into their existing work:

Our teens are craving this type of engagement. They are watching a world that does not know how to listen, communicate, or interact in a way that is not polarized. The majority of their political experiences have been in this divisive and turbulent landscape. They are a generation that is told it’s up to them and that their voices matter. I see that they want to do better, and they want to be engaged in this work. I think offering this training to both the teens and the adults who are advising and mentoring them has the potential to create sustainable and tangible change, not just in the Jewish landscape but in their overall leadership and character development. … this class was a huge success and just highlighted that we have an opportunity to provide a skill set, through a Jewish lens, that these teens are craving.
– Rachel Dingman, Director of Jewish Enrichment, BBYO

As the leading innovator supporting thousands of Jewish leaders to speak about and facilitate conversations around charged issues, RTT’s work in the Jewish community focuses in four primary areas:

  1. Training Jewish professionals in tools to facilitate and convene conversation and learning across divides in Jewish and in American life,
  2. Partnership with central agencies to multiply discussion and inquiry on charged political issues across a range of ages, backgrounds, perspectives, and communities,
  3. Detoxifying the Israel climate on college campuses by providing programs and training for student leaders and Hillel staff, and
  4. Providing targeted trainings, workshops, and forums for community leaders and members.

Already this program year, RTT has drawn on its expertise in mediation and facilitation to train teams from BBYO, Hillel U, Maccabee Task Force, Gather DC, Revolve, Mishkan, the Mandel Executive Leadership Program, Honeymoon Israel, several individual Hillels and Day Schools, and more. Critically, RTT does this work on a large scale, having already directly reached more than 34,000 participants, many of them Federation CEOs, rabbis, Hillel professionals and others positioned to make far-reaching culture change and indirectly impact tens of thousands more. They collaborate with hundreds of Jewish organizations, including 85+ college campuses, 25 Federations, and hundreds of synagogues, JCCs, and other Jewish organizations.

This was a truly mind-blowing session and left me thinking about all of my previous conversations…. I think this will really elevate my one-on-one engagement skills as well as help build a foundation for eventual facilitation…. I am truly grateful for all of the facilitators and their patience as they taught us the skills and reshaped how we view conversations with our community members.
– Alexis Fosco, Community Coordinator, Gather DC

Resetting the Table is positioned to continue to build the American Jewish community’s capacity to learn, speak, and deliberate across differences. They are meeting a significant hunger, including among young Jews whose previous disengagement arose less from “apathy” than from the sense that “there is no room” for the welcoming, multi-vocal inquiry and discussion across difference they desire. The result of these dedicated efforts is a novel conceptual framework, core set of effective strategies, and nascent field of skilled practitioners for building courageous and constructive communication across divides.

The Jim Joseph Foundation supports Resetting the Table’s educator training as part of the Foundation’s strategy to invest in professional development in the field. Learn more at ResettingTheTable.org.