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.


Understanding Israel Today: Foundational Zionist Moments and Documents with Natan Meir
Tuesday, January 29, 7:00pm
Modern Israel is the result of events and decisions that shape today’s debates and frame today’s relationship with Diaspora Jews. Join us as Professor Natan Meir, of the PSU Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies, gives us a historical overview; after this informative section, attendees can participate in a moderated discussion of how these formative moments and ideas affect politics and our relationship to Israel today.


Two Sided Story Movie
Sunday, February 17, 1:00-4:00pm
Join us in watching this film about an organization dedicated to peace and reconciliation between bereaved Palestinians and Israelis. $5. Nosh & discussion after the film. RSVP:

About the film:
In the film, Emmy award director, Tor Ben Mayor, follows a group of 27 Palestinians and Israelis who meet through a unique project called “History through the Human Eye” led by Parents Circle-Families Forum – bereaved Palestinian and Israelis for Peace and Reconciliation. The project’s goal is to acknowledge the narrative of the other. Together they create the conflict mosaic. The group includes bereaved families, Orthodox Jews, religious Muslims, settlers, ex soldiers in the Israeli army, ex security prisoners, citizens of the Gaza strip, kibbutz members, second generation holocaust survivors, non violent activists and more. Each and every one holds his own historical truth, and carries with him his own emotional baggage.


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)

Past 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.

A Conversation with Ravit Baer, Deputy Consul General of Israel to the PNW
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 7:00pm, Stampfer Chapel

Please join Ravit Baer, Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, for an update on developments in Israel-US relations and other issues of interest to our community.  This will be a wonderful follow up to the discussion of the Yehuda Kurtzer video on February 8.

About Ravit Baer: Before taking on this assignment in San Francisco, Ms. Baer served for five years at the Department for Multilateral European Organization at the Europe Division. In that position, she was responsible for coordinating Israel’s cooperation with the European Union, NATO, OSCE, UFM, and was also responsible for coordinating the implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy in Israel, as well serving as the Israeli National Contact Point for several European programs. She has been  a career diplomat at the Israeli Foreign Service since 2004. She served as the Deputy Head of Mission to the Israeli Embassy in the Ivory Coast (2005-2007) and to Cyprus (2007-2010). Ravit Baer holds an L.L.B (2001) and an L.L.M specializing in constitutional and administrative law (2003), both from the Hebrew University.

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

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.

Co-sponsored by: Israel360, Beth Israel Brotherhood, and Havurah Lifelong Learning Committee

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.

Cooking at the Foot of the Mountain
Food Demos & A Delicious Parve/Vegan Meal!
Sunday, May 20, 5:30pm, Birnbach Hall

Join Rabbi David Kosak and Tal Caspi, award-winning chef of Aviv restaurant, for cooking demos intermixed with rich stories about international Jewish cuisine. An incredible parve/vegan meal will follow. Free learning sessions after dinner.

Jonathan Adelman – In an Emerging New World Order: Israel’s Evolving Relations
Thursday, October 18, 2018, 7:00pm

Explore Israel’s relationships with Russia, China, and Middle Eastern New Friends (e.g., Saudi Arabia, UAE), and whether there are signs that Israel has been preparing for a shift away from dependence on the USA. Free.

About Jonathan Adelman
Professor Jonathan Adelman is a full professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Stud-ies at the University of Denver. Having received four degrees from Columbia University, he has written or edited twelve books. In the last two and a half years he has written numerous op-eds on the Middle East, China and Russia, most of which have appeared on the websites of CNN, the Huffington Post, Forbes, Yedioth Ahronot and Fox News.

Asking the Tough Questions: A Conversation Between Rabbi David Kosak and a Senior Israeli General
Thursday, November 15, 7:00pm

Join Israel360 on November 15 to hear IDF Brigadier General (Res.) Nitzan Nuriel in conversation with Rabbi David Kosak. General Nuriel is a research fellow at the Counter-Terrorism Institute at IDC Herzliya He previously served in the West Bank, Gaza and in the Northern Command during the withdrawal from Lebanon. General Nuriel is the former Director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau and is responsible for having built the counter-terrorism partnership between Israel and the U.S. His recent work focuses on the Golan Heights border security challenge from both a humanitarian and practical perspective. Click here for RSVP.
This program is co-sponsored by AIPAC together with Congregation Neveh Shalom and Israel360, Congregation Beth Israel, and Congregation Shaarie Torah.

Safrai Israeli Art Exhibition and Show Comes to CNS
December 6-9, Various Times (see below).
Opening Gala: Thursday, December 6, 7-10pm

View and purchase Israeli art right here in Portland! Jerusalem’s Safrai Gallery is bringing over 1500 pieces of fine art by more than 100 contemporary Israeli artists – Young and Old Masters of Israeli Art – to Congregation Neveh Shalom on December 6-9.
Please join us for a special opening gala on Thursday, Dec 6, from 7-10pm.
Other open times will be:
  • Friday, Dec 7, 9am-2pm
  • Saturday, Dec 8, 6-9pm
  • Sunday, Dec 9, 9am-4pm