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Rebuilding Community: Healing Our Fractured World

How can we approach disparate viewpoints in our broken world and return to civility, respectful discourse and engagement?
©Francesco Scatena/
©Francesco Scatena/
Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she serves as lead faculty and consults on the content of lay and professional programs. A widely well-regarded thinker and teacher, Elana is passionate about bringing rabbinic thought into conversation with contemporary life. To this end, she hosts TEXTing, a bi-weekly podcast that considers issues relevant to Jewish life through the lens

The Orthodox Jewish community, much like the rest of the US, has been splintered by the divisive politics of recent years to the point where families and entire communities are unable to find common ground. How can we approach such disparate viewpoints in our broken world and return to civility, respectful discourse and engagement?

Read more about the program here.

This session explored which political and ideological divides led to such polarization during a time of great loss and suffering due to Covid-19, and how the two sides might begin to bridge the gaps, took up the lion’s share of the session. Ultimately, the panelists agreed it was time for more listening, education, and “lowering the temperature” of our public discourse — and using this pandemic period as an opportunity to realize we’re all in this together.

Panel included:

  • Rabbi Kenneth Hain, Congregation Beth Sholom, Lawrence, NY
  • Jacob Kornbluh, Senior Political Reporter, The Forward
  • Mark Trencher, Founder, Nishma Research
  • Prof. Ester R. Fuchs, Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
  • Rabbi Barry Kornblau, Rabbi, Young Israel of Hollis Hills-Windsor Park, Queens, NY
  • Dr. Elana Stein Hain, Director of Faculty and Senior Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute
  • Moderator: Ari L. Goldman, Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
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