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Peer Leading in Bethlehem

by Jason Rodich | Published on March 4, 2010 in the Wexner Spring 2010 Newsletter

This piece was distrib­uted in the March 2010 newsletter of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship

In January I partic­i­pated for a second time on a trip to Bethlehem with Encounter, an orga­ni­za­tion founded  by an alumna of the  Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program that brings Diaspora Jewish leaders to the West Bank to meet with various Palestinian leaders.

During this trip, I was asked to be one of the small group facil­i­ta­tors; my role was to help my peers process the expe­ri­ence we were having. To be sure, Encounter is neither light nor easy and one is asked to “listen with resilience” to many things which may be quite diffi­cult to hear. 

When I met my group five days before we would travel together I was concerned as to how I would help “make” this expe­ri­ence mean­ingful and, in partic­ular, “provide” the space that partic­i­pants needed to process the experience. 

It turned out that as much as I wanted to “make” and “provide” some­thing for my group, I also very much needed some­thing for myself. What was so incred­ible is that my small group supported all of us well, including the leader. 

Perhaps a good measure of your own lead­er­ship is how well those around you are able to lead along­side you.  How much can you rely on your own struc­ture to get you, and not just those around you, through chal­lenges, and to what extent do you also have a deep personal stake in the direc­tion your commu­nity is moving?   If you are heart­broken, can you, appro­pri­ately, let it show? 

Jason Rodich is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College.

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Encounter is an edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be construc­tive agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moti­vated by the relent­less Jew­ish pur­suit of hokhma (wis­dom) and binah (under­stand­ing), Encounter cul­ti­vates informed Jew­ish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict by bring­ing…

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