(JERUSALEM – December 7, 2020) Guided by the belief that Jewish texts and their diverse interpretations can empower us to engage more constructively in disagreements today, Pardes North America has launched a new Mahloket Matters Fellowship.
Based on the Mahloket Matters curriculum that has been used by communities around the globe, the Fellowship is an initiative designed to create a culture of constructive disagreement and debate within communities across North America.
The Fellowship will consist of two cohorts: The Educational Leadership cohort is open to rabbis and Jewish educators currently working in the Jewish professional field. The Volunteer Leadership cohort is open to current and emerging Jewish volunteer leaders, ideally, those who maintain influential social networks.
Through the study of Jewish texts and social psychology, both cohorts will learn to distinguish between different types of disagreements and explore why good people may have diametrically opposing views on moral issues. Fellows will become adept at considering an issue from multiple perspectives and recognizing the conflicting values, needs, perspectives, and concerns of each side.
Fellows in both cohorts will receive individual mentorship with Pardes faculty and each Fellow in the Volunteer Leadership cohort will receive a $1,500 stipend for their time and participation in these sessions.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in the Fellowship,” says Rabba Shani Gross, Pardes’s Director of North American Programs. “Especially following the election season and the fatigue and aggravations from Covid-19, many Jewish communities are increasingly fractured. It’s encouraging to see applications coming in. It shows that our communities are not resigned to the status quo.”
Finally, Fellows will take what they’ve learned to construct an engagement initiative for their home communities, for which each Fellow will receive a $500 community engagement fund to execute.
“Immersive text-based learning that explores the contemporary relevance of classic texts is, of course, the starting point for all Pardes programs. Combined with professional mentorship, financial support and a strong network of colleagues, we believe Fellows will offer a critical voice to foster respectful dialogue across North America,” says Pardes’s President, Rabbi Leon Morris. “Constructive disagreement for the sake of heaven (Mahloket L’Shem Shamayim), has always been at the core of Jewish study. It’s high time we apply this value well beyond the Beit Midrash.”