The Council of Canadians - Winnipeg Chapter

Beyond Polarized Kvetching

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Monday March 20, 2017 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Location: West End Commons, 641 St. Matthews Avenue

Drop In Room, enter off of McGee Street

Part One: Monday March 20th – 6:30 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.

Part Two: Thursday April 6th – 6:30 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.

Cost: $30 or PWYC


*While we recommend that participants attend both parts of this workshop, each will serve an independent purpose with the first focusing on effective communication in general and the second on issue-specific communication.



Have you felt overwhelmed by polarized worldviews within Jewish family and communities? Have your politics on Israel and Palestine been marginalized by Jewish institutions? Independent Jewish Voices is now offering an effective communication workshop for marginalized views on Israel/Palestine.


We will gather to explore what feelings come up when we experience conflict: what do you feel when communication is open, and what is your experience when communication is oppressive? How can we work toward making space for open, authentic interactions around topics where emotions run high and our sense of self feels threatened?


Focusing on the polarized, hypersensitive conflict between Jewish Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism, Jewish-Israeli nationalism vs Jewish solidarity with Palestinians, we will (re)imagine our "adversaries" as dynamic, complex humans. As Jews we are well-positioned to engage in these difficult conversations, and work toward open dialogue, because often our disputant is our friend, family, or someone we break challah with. While there are many radical social change strategies that focus on transforming systemic injustice (i.e. BDS, attending rallies, revoking the JNF's legal status, media campaigns, etc) we believe that interpersonal communication can be a complementary part of our work toward justice.


Our first workshop will be a space to share personal stories about times we have felt heard and times we have felt silenced. We will draw-out our assumptions of "the other" and discuss the different ways that a communication climate can limit or open the potential for exchange. The group will engage in a role-play exercise that will explore communicating through questions of genuine curiosity.


Our second workshop will focus on our journeys of questioning Zionism, and we will practice the communication strategy of personal storytelling. We will share in pairs our stories, and practice connecting our individual narratives to a collective story of purpose. Remembering that empathizing is not the same as agreeing, we will build our capacities for empathy through reflection and paraphrasing skills. This will also be a space to complicate the ways that race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shift our interpersonal experiences and dynamics.




Emily Green is a queer, Jewish activist who is always seeking ways to challenge the status quo and build communities. She bartends, works in the kitchen of a refugee shelter, and helps distribute local, organic vegetables. A few years ago Emily studied Community Work at George Brown where she had the opportunity to nerd-out on interpersonal communication techniques, and group dynamics. She has shifted between the belief that speaking with "those zionist adversaries" is useless, to thinking that it's the most vital strategy ever, and now has a more moderate understanding of dialogue as one handy tool in her proverbial social change toolbox. Emily would love to meet you to share her experiences, and to hear about your journey with communicating across (anti)zionisms!


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