Israel360: Diverse Perspectives on Israel, Explored in an Atmosphere of Respect            

Please join us in this ongoing series about Israel. These fascinating discussions will present Israel from all angles and perspectives and will feature respectful dialogue. Call the office for more details and to RSVP: 503.246.8831.

Upcoming Events:

Bridging Identities: On Being LGBTQ, Jewish and Pro-Israel
Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 7:00, Stampfer Chapel, FREE

Click here for Audio Recording of the event

Click here for Facebook Live Video Stream recording of event.

Explore the following questions with Arthur Slepian, the founder and president of A Wider Bridge (AWB)–a pro-Israel organization that works to deepen the connections between the LGBT communities of Israel and North America.

  • What has been the progress of the LGBTQ community in Israel, and what challenges remain?
  • How can one successfully engage progressive people with Israel at a time when there is so much antagonism towards Israel on the left?
  • How can the LGBTQ communities of Israel and North America learn from and support one another, especially in the aftermath of our own recent elections?

A Wider Bridge was founded in 2010, has staff in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC and Tel Aviv, and brings its programs to cities across North America.  Arthur has several decades of experience as a leader in both the Jewish community and the LGBT community, along with a successful career as a leader in the business world. Arthur lives in San Francisco and serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Co-sponsored by: Congregation Neveh Shalom, Jewish Pride Greater PDX, Neveh Shalom  Keshet, Jewish Federation of Portland, Congregation Beth Israel and A Wider Bridge.

American Jewish Engagement with Israel
Thursday, February 8, 2018, 7:00, Birnbach Hall

For many decades, American Jewish identity with Israel was a given, a strong part of American Jewish identity.  This identity is being challenged and may be disappearing as an increasing number of American Jews have no emotional connection with Israel. Watch and discuss a video presentation by Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, a philosopher and the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. Through his main area of study–the meaning of Israel to American Jews–he traces the attitudes of American Jews on the political left and right back to two seminal moments in Jewish history, Emancipation and Enlightenment.

Screening of the Documentary Film: The Gatekeepers
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 7:00pm, Birnbach Hall

Join us in watching and discussing The Gatekeepers, a 2012 documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet at that time. The interviewees shed light on the controversy surrounding the contested territories in the aftermath of the Six Day War.  Also, explore a range of Israeli responses from a positive critical review to those who felt the film reinforced the anti-Israeli narrative in the West.


The Next 35 Years of Social Change in Israel: New Leadership for a New Era
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 7:00, Stampfer Chapel

Come hear NIF Executive Director in Israel Mickey Gitzin. As a liberal, openly gay son of Russian immigrants, Mickey Gitzin recognizes both the great leaps forward that Israel has made in advancing equality for all its citizens and the challenges that remain. He is one of a new wave of young Israeli leaders bringing an intersectional approach to the issues of the day.

Israeli and American Jewry are currently grappling with large societal questions.

  • What does the future of the Israeli progressive movement look like?
  • What victories does it take for granted?
  • Which issues are the most important for Israelis and Americans to solve in the coming years?

Join us for a fascinating conversation as we explore some of the complex challenges facing Israel society today.


RSVP requested for any Israel360 event: 503.246.8831

Sponsorship is sought for future programming. Please contact for more information.

About Israel360

Israel360 is a pilot project of The Kindness Commons™ and is housed at Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland, Oregon.

Israel360 is a series of regularly occurring programs that will consider many aspects of Israel–modern and ancient–from diverse viewpoints and approaches. Some sessions will have a cultural, political or military focus, while other events will examine Israeli history, sociology or the peace process.

In today’s world, any mention of Israel can be contentious, because people arrive at events with pre-formed opinions. To help us grow past this, and to model the Jewish values of shmirat halashon (thoughtful speech), derekh eretz (civility) and makhlokhet l’shem shamayim (directed dialogue), all programs will be facilitated.

At each event, attendees will be reminded of a set of guidelines for participation. The goal is to ensure that dialogue and discussion are respectful and that questions and comments spring from a sense of curiosity rather than a desire to prove a position or score a rhetorical point.

About The Kindness Commons™:

*The Kindness Commons™ is an initiative and gift of Rabbi David Kosak. Like all commons, it provides free access to necessary societal goods. In this case, those goods are the Jewish tradition’s deep wisdom on how to build functional, caring and durable communities. Core components and teachings of The Kindness Commons™ center on:

  • Kindness (chesed)
  • Civility and caring behavior (shmirat halashon and derekh eretz)
  • Rich and respectful conversation and dialogue (makhlokhet l’shem shamayim), 
  • Mutual responsibility (kol yisrael ma’arivin zeh b’zeh and tikkun olam)