For Hazhir

Jon Swan’s poem about drones is a haunting vision. “The drone hovers under the iron-gray dome of heaven . . .”

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Fantasy World

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was brilliantly deceitful because it played to the fantasies that Israeli propaganda and right wing militarists in the US have been popularizing for the past thirty years. The biggest fantasy: that we can coerce others through power over them to do what we consider in the best interests of the U.S. or Israel.

Without Justice, Tolerance Perpetuates the Status Quo

Within Open Hillel, we often talk about the value of embracing the discomfort we experience when hearing opinions that we disagree with. After all, ideas that make us uncomfortable may challenge our intellectual or emotional security, but rarely challenge our actual physical safety.

A Wholehearted Jewish Future

My generation has left the peace movement in Israel hanging. Now we are relying on the next generation to articulate what we have been thinking but haven’t said. What we do say, we whisper. Then we congratulate ourselves for getting that far. Why are we frightened? Why are we silent?

Letter to a Jewish Girl

I write this letter for the Jewish girl who was afraid to put her name to this letter for fear of being deemed too controversial to be hired within the American Jewish community. I write this letter for the Jewish girl who debates the news schizophrenically with herself inside her head. I write this letter for the Jewish girl who was told that her politics went wrong when she let a few experiences with “good Arabs” distract her from the bigger picture.

What it Really Means to be Jew-ish

I am both Arab and Jewish, and I enjoy resisting those binaries through the performance of my own unique identity. But identifying with both my Arab and Jewish heritage garners mixed results. So long as Hillel is in the business of defining people’s Jewishness for them, they will continue to marginalize Jewish voices.

Dispatches from the Open Hillel Movement

This collection of pieces was born out of the debates modeled by the Open Hillel conference. Some essays represent voices or ideas that are currently excluded by the Standards of Partnership, some discuss the challenges presented by the Open Hillel movement, some tell personal stories of political transformation, and some discuss the historical diversity of Jewish opinions about Zionism. The collection represents a taste of the vibrancy of Jewish opinion, ideas, and debate that the Open Hillel movement is working to revive. These essays represent the beginning, not the end, of a new kind of conversation.