Civil Discourse Seminar

One Monday per month
5:15 PM – 6:30 PM

Can text study of Biblical stories and their diverse interpretations empower us to engage more constructively in disagreements today? Today, civil discourse between the political divides is turning less and less civil. In response, the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution (PCJCR) has created a new initiative: Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively – The Beit Midrash Way. At the core of the traditional beit midrash (study hall) are havrutot (study pairs), critically studying together mahloket, conflicting opinions, found on every page of classic Jewish texts. This methodology of studying text can be used to increase the desire and ability to understand and engage more constructively with conflicting political opinions today, improving civil discourse.

11/4 Introduction
Rabbinic Concepts of the Beit Midrash Way

12/2 Unit 1
Meet or Refuse to Meet? From Korah and Moses to Political Adversaries Today

1/13 Unit 2
Fear War or Trust Peace? From Jacob and Esau through Chamberlain and Menachem Begin to Today

2/3 Unit 3
Xenophobia or National Security? From Pharaoh and the Israelites through Japanese Internment to Today

3/2 Unit 4
Coexist or Separate? From Isaac and Ishmael to Israelis and Palestinians Today

4/6 Unit 5
“Fake News” or Uncovering the Truth? From Joseph and his brothers through Jefferson and Hamilton to Today

Please sign up once for the entire year of studies—but if you can’t make every session, you are still welcome to attend as many as you can. Rabbi Kamrass and Thomashow will co-teach this course.

Click below to register for one or several classes:

Members register here via the member portal
  • quickly register family and guests

Non-members register here



Questions? Alex Burte, Membership/Program Director, 513-793-2556 or