As a congregation, we have decided to tackle the difficult issues of Israel and antisemitism, which are intertwined. Our positions fall across the spectrum and are often at odds, but we share a desire for facts in context and education. We also share humanistic values, which cause us to care about the dignity of all people, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians, or other members of our Congregation.
This combination of intellectual discipline and compassion came across in our initial discussions. Members were asking for more detail and choosing their words carefully to maintain an environment of mutual respect. I am proud and honored to be part of this group, having reasoned and balanced conversations about volatile and emotional issues.
The more difficult discussions lie ahead, however. We have only begun to explore how we want to educate ourselves and vet our feelings. As humanists we look to facts, reason, and each other in the face of difficult situations. Remembering these principles, we can let down our guard with each other. Instead of defending our own positions, we can refocus our energies on empathizing with the experiences and positions of others.
Initial discussions show signs of this constructive attitude and earnest search for answers. The results of the recent survey of our members indicate that we all want a deeper understanding of the facts and issues and want to talk with each other about what we are feeling. Further discussions will bring us together and satisfy our need to address the troubling headlines we read daily.
Please join me in the hard work of educating ourselves and addressing these issues in a humanistic way.