This coming year, 2017, will be a significant one for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

In the coming months, we will mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration called for the creation of a national home for the Jewish people; 70 years since the UN voted to partition the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state; and 50 years since the Six Day War, when Israel assumed control of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Old City of Jerusalem.

We expect these anniversaries to spark further debate around Israel’s history and its future. As you know, these sorts of conversations are often rife with conflict and antagonism, dividing us as a community and turning people away.

We as a community should be able to engage in thoughtful and respectful discussions across diverse perspectives, voice our concerns, and hear those of others, all while expressing our unequivocal support for a secure and democratic Jewish State of Israel. In this spirit, CJP is unveiling the CommUNITY Israel Dialogue to enable productive conversations around the issues that matter to us as a community.

To assist in this initiative, CJP has partnered with Resetting the Table, a national organization that works with Jewish communities to build meaningful dialogue and deliberation across differences on Israel.  Since 2013, Resetting the Table’s programs have directly reached more than 12,000 participants in national and local agencies seeking to foster meaningful inquiry and dialogue across divides on Israel, including hundreds of rabbis and executive directors of community organizations across the country. Their programs uniquely draw on dialogue and expert facilitation to create channels for participant expression, recognition, honesty, and curiosity.

In the coming weeks and months, we will roll out a series of programs and events to help us build a culture that bridges divisions and enables vibrant engagement with Israel in the Boston Jewish community.