Esteem for your audience

“You had esteem for our ability to make up our own minds,” gratefully shared a participant from our group as she prepared to return to Boston. “Too often presenters doubt the intellectual capacities of their audience.  They try to simplify material to make it more persuasive.  Thank you and ADL for not doing this.”

Leadership from law enforcement throughout the New England region has just returned from an exceptional eight-day Seminar in Israel on Resiliency and Counterterrorism. Indeed, our time was spent considering how one might approach problems, rather than ‘what to think’ about the ‘right solutions.’ Participants are distinguished decision makers. They have earned their positions of leadership.  Presenters are selected with similar rigor. The atmosphere on our Seminar trusts the moral reasoning of both participants and presenters. 

For example, our visit to the Gaza-Israel border focused entirely on the emerging humanitarian crisis in Gaza, rather than focusing on the serious security threats to Southern Israel.  Our visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial considered, beyond Nazi wickedness, the global indifference to the plight of European Jewry and its implications for genocides ever since in Rwanda and elsewhere.  And the ways Security professionals in Israel strive to not grow indifferent to the needs of neighbors, particularly when these neighbors’ own leaders mistreat them and deny them opportunity.

Complex issues deserve approaches that resist mono-causal claims. Those who traffic in ideological certainty, convinced that they are right and others are wrong, sell-short their claims and those whom they seek to indoctrinate. 

Good ideas are earned based on their merit.  They do not require embellished packaging or special handling.  We are grateful that the participants in our Seminar valued ADL’s approach.  We hope to continue to earn the trust of any and all who lend their willing hearts and hands to shaping a safer and more just world.

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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