Guidelines for a Conversation on Defining Zionism
Hadassah's Defining Zionism in the 21st Century series is an online monthly program for everyone to explore various perspectives of Zionism—from the comfort of home or with a group. In order to ensure that these conversations are engaging and productive, Hadassah is committed to developing an environment that is open and welcoming to all.
Below are some guidelines to help further the conversation and facilitate discussion. We encourage you to continue this conversation with friends and family, at your Shabbat dinner table, or at any other time. Any opportunity to explore Zionism is the right time to do so! Please also join the online conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #definingzionism and at www.hadassah.org/zionismdiscussion.
Guidelines for Discussion
Many of us are passionate when we talk about Israel and are deeply committed to our own ideas for how best to support and protect the Jewish homeland. However, in order to ensure that we are welcoming of all members of the Jewish community to join the discussion, we must listen and be respectful of those who share opinions that differ from our own. Hateful or derogatory language of any kind will not be tolerated. It is so appropriate that we are beginning this series right before the Holiday of Shavuot when we celebrate receiving the Torah. Commentaries on the Torah are filled with lots of Jewish opinions on every matter!
What unites us as a Jewish community is much more than what divides us. Through these discussions, remember that you and other participants have a shared identity, love of Israel, and commitment to Jewish traditions and values.
Core tenets of Jewish values are B’tzelem Elohim and Pikuah Nefesh. We are all created in G-d’s image and therefore we must respect and value the lives of all people. Hadassah is a bridge to peace in the Middle East, treating over one million patients a year are treated there, without regard to race, religion, or nationality. Just as we spilled wine at the Passover Seder because Egyptian lives were lost in our quest for freedom, so too we care about the lives of both Israelis and Palestinian and we hope for a future of peace.
There is no one definition of Zionism and it means something different to everyone. Central to Hadassah’s mission is the idea of practical Zionism—translating a love of and commitment to Israel into action. Throughout your conversations, think critically about what Zionism means to you, why your definition may or may not differ from others, how Zionism can be expressed in our daily lives.