Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities Program

Program Description

The Rodef Shalom Communities Program engages North American synagogues and other Jewish institutions in the study and practice of the mitzvah of redifat shalom (pursuit of peace) and the art of mahloket l’shem shamayim (sacred and constructive disagreement). Through Jewish text study, training in conflict resolution skill and development of middot (qualities of soul), the program focuses on conflict resolution in individual, family and community life.

The program highlights redifat shalom as a core value of North American congregations and Jewish organizations, making Jewish institutions into places where we learn to be our best selves in all of our relationships. The result will be healthier, more loving and more sacred communities in which the mitzvah of “seeking and pursuing peace” (Psalms 34:15) is honored and practiced in every aspect of communal life.

Read more: The Call to Rabbis and Lay Leaders to be Pursuers of Peace by Daniel Roth

The Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities Program includes study and practice of the following:

  • Who is a Rodef Shalom?
  • Methods of the Rodef Shalom
  • Mahloket l’shem shamayim (sacred and constructive disagreement)
  • Constructive communication through tochacha (rebuke)
  • Relations with “the enemy”
  • Sh’mirat halashon (minding the tongue – Jewish ethics of speech)
  • Middot for peacemaking (cultivation of qualities of soul essential to redifat shalom)
  • Turning enemies into friends
  • The 9Adar Project: Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict

This 12-month course will help synagogues develop a robust culture of redifat shalom (pursuit of peace) and mahloket l’shem shamayim (sacred and healthy disagreement) within their communities. Planning teams composed of clergy and lay leaders will engage in a process of study, training and personal reflection in order to lead their communities to become Rodef Shalom communities of practice, in which the value of redifat shalom pervades communal life and inspires members in their personal lives.

Program components include:

  • Retreats for teams of clergy and lay leaders at start and end of program year
  • Monthly curricular units including text study, conflict resolution practice and cultivation of middot (qualities of soul) for use by leadership study circles in the synagogue
  • Congregation-wide programming to explore and cultivate Rodef Shalom values and middot in the entire community
  • Structural interventions to facilitate the embrace of redifat shalom as a core value in every aspect of synagogue life (e.g. staff, board, and synagogue school)
  • Each synagogue will create and execute a project, to be presented at the closing retreat, to move toward becoming a Rodef Shalom congregation.

For more information and to apply to become part of the 2016-2017 cohort, please contact Rabbi Amy Eilberg at amy@pardes.org.

Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities training retreats immerse rabbis, educators and community leaders in a range of rich Jewish textual resources on redifat shalom, constructive and destructive conflict, Jewish ethics of speech, and middot for the practice of redifat shalom. The text study is integrated with skill-building for the art of sacred and healthy disagreement and cultivation of middot central to peacemaking.

The next Religious Leader as Rodef Shalom retreat will be held June 5-7, 2017. For more information see www.pardes.org.il/prscretreat.

The Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities Program offers tailored study and practical on-site workshops to engage rabbis, educators and community leaders in study of sample Jewish texts on redifat shalom (pursuit of peace), constructive and destructive conflict, Jewish ethics of speech and middot (qualities of soul) for the practice of redifat shalom.

During an evening, half a day or more, we will develop an inspiring program which combines text study with skill-building exercises for the art of sacred and constructive disagreement and an introduction to the soul work of peacemaking. Leaders will have the opportunity to learn from best practices in the field and from successes and failures of other communities and envision their home congregations and organizations as communities of practice around the value of redifat shalom. In so doing, they become part of an emerging nation-wide network of Rodef Shalom communities.

Coming Up:

November 16, 2015: Rabbi Amy Eilberg will be teaching at the “Shape the Center” Convention of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Schaumburg, Illinois.

To bring a workshop to your community, contact Rabbi Amy Eilberg at amy@pardes.org.

The 9Adar Project: Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict (February 12-18, 2016) is a global week of action to promote constructive conflict in interpersonal, inter-religious and intra-Jewish contexts.  In North America, Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities provides a program guide to help synagogues and other Jewish organizations use the 9th of Adar to highlight Rodef Shalom values and practices, as part of a global effort to embed mahloket l’shem shamayim (sacred and healthy disagreement) and Jewish ethics of speech more deeply into the reality of Jewish life. See 9adar.org for more information.

Program Director: Rabbi Amy Eilberg, first woman ordained as Conservative rabbi, accomplished theorist and practitioner of interfaith and intra-Jewish dialogue, author of From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace (Orbis, 2014).

Center Director: Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth, founding director of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution.

Contact Rabbi Amy Eilberg at amy@pardes.org for more information about the Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities Program and to explore the best ways to bring Rodef Shalom texts, principles and practices into your community.

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To receive information about observing 9Adar in your community, sign up here.