Mahloket Matters: Healing Our Broken Discourse

Utilizing Jewish Wisdom to Heal the Broken Discourse of Our Society

We are living in a moment of unprecedented breakdown in American civil discourse. Unable to listen to each other – let alone understand each other – we are stuck in our own echo chambers. Many fear speaking up, lest we be judged or “canceled.” We cannot even agree on a shared set of facts or norms to govern our discourse. These problems cause significant pain and dysfunction for millions, and they show up at work, at schools, on the streets and in our families. The trauma of the global pandemic has only increased fear and distrust among many. This is as true in the Jewish community as it is in society generally.

Pardes North America seeks to foster a renewed discourse that heals divisions and offers our communities – and the world – a path forward. 

Pardes North America’s pioneering Mahloket Matters methodology combines social psychology with the rich Jewish textual tradition of deeply engaging with conflicting opinions in order to learn. This curriculum helps provide learners with the motivation to better engage constructively with those with whom they disagree, thereby improving civil discourse. Mahloket Matters reframes what previously felt hostile and threatening as an opportunity for connection and change.

The Mahloket Matters for Adults curriculum provides Jewish leaders with the tools necessary to implement Mahloket Matters within their own community.

We are living in a time period in which extreme political polarization and demonization of the other is the status quo. This challenging environment is particularly stressful and draining on adolescents as they navigate the tricky tension between forming an individual identity and a competing need for social belonging.

As such, PNA has partnered with the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators to create a new curriculum for high school and upper middle school students. These interactive materials foster a constructive disagreement mindset via Jewish text study and Social-Emotional learning.

The Mahloket Matters Fellowship is an 8-week fellowship in which participants learn the Mahloket Matters materials and how to utilize them in a variety of capacities. At the end of the program, fellows implement the Mahloket Matters methodology in a program of their own design within their communities.

Pardes North America partners with organizations and brings Mahloket Matters to them. Mahloket Matters can be used to improve communication both internally for organizations or with a larger community.

  • JFNA- In partnership with the Jewish Federation of North America, PNA is running a Generative Leadership course focused on developing communal leadership skills for navigating complex times.
  • BBYO -PNA faculty recently attended the BBYO International Convention to teach Mahloket Matters to teenagers from across North America.
  • The Rabbinical Assembly – At the 2021 RA Assembly, PNA shared Mahloket Matters with conservative rabbis, later developing a special fellowship cohort for RA members.
  • Limmud NA – Faculty member, Shani Gross, presented Mahloket Matters at the recent 2022 Limmud eFestival.

Taste of Mahloket Matters is a specialized 3-part series introducing the concepts of Mahloket Matters to a unique cohort of leaders from throughout North America.

For more information contact Darielle Schandler at

During 9 Adar: The Jewish Week of Constructive Disagreement, Pardes North America seeks to cultivate a culture of constructive disagreement across personal, political, religious, and other divides.