Make use of this simple guide for a timely and relevent discussion:

9 AV Toolkit for Roundtable Discussion 

(Adapted from Gesher and Meetchabrim’s joint event this Erev 9 B’Av in the Old City of Jerusalem)

FORMAT:

  1. Opening remarks (speaker, panel, or simply a short introduction)
  2. Break into smaller circles (7-10 participants) led by a facilitator
  3. Regroup for conclusion – summarize recommendations from groups and outline clear next steps

INTRODUCTION / BACKGROUND:

At this time, on a 9 AV when Israel is in the midst of war it seems that we are as united as ever. The bonds between Jews in times of crisis, the strength of our young soldiers in battle, perseverance of residents in Israel’s south, and the inspirational support that people have given them from all around the world… we see that Israel and the Jewish People are truly stronger together.

When we are united, no enemy can destroy us.

At the same time, we are all familiar with the rifts, tensions and tears that threaten our people in times of peace. Today, we gather to ask the question: How can we connect in ‘ahavat hinam’, even when there is no war or crisis pulling us together.

Facilitator’s Guidelines: Ground Rules for Discussion

  1. Everyone’s voice in the circle is equal. Titles, experience, background, age, etc. have no influence on validity of remarks.
  2. Designate an item that the speaker holds. If you are not holding the item, you cannot speak.
  3. Order of speaking goes around the circle. If discussing two questions then go around the opposite direction the second time. Remind people to hold their questions or comments until it reaches their turn.

WARMUP: 15 Minutes
The words hurban (destruction) and hibur (connection) are very similar in letters but worlds apart in meaning. To replace the destruction of 9 Av we must build positive connections between people. As Rav Kook taught, Jerusalem was destroyed because of “baseless hatred between Jewish people” (Talmud Taanit 9b), and today it will be rebuilt on “baseless love”.

FIRST QUESTION: 15 Minutes
“What moment of unity in the last month moved you like no other?”

SECOND QUESTION: 30 Minutes
“How do you suggest we can hold onto the incredible unity of today even after the war?”  (Offer a practical solution that you or your community can act upon.)

REGROUP FOR CONCLUSION: 15 Minutes
Bring everyone together again to summarize innovative and practical ideas that arose from each group. Agree on action points so that today’s discussion continues beyond just this 9th of Av and delivers true change going forward.