Insight Israel Forum PODS

Dialogue | Education | Connection

The Associated’s Insight Israel Forum brings the Baltimore Jewish community leadership together to promote learning and robust conversation about Israel. Through PODS (Personal Opinion Dialogue Seminars), a series of lectures, circle conversations, speaker events and on-line learning programs, the Insight Israel Forum will facilitate open, honest, and sometimes difficult discussions about Israel. Participants will have the opportunity to comfortably engage in respectful conversations around Israel while exploring their own Jewish journey.

Topics and dates are listed below.

For a detailed description of all PODS please click here.


Hartman PODS – “Israel, America & World Jewry”

Sessions led by Shalom Hartman Institute scholars and educators.

Orientation session and then three live 90-minute webinars.

May 5, May 12, May 19 | 6:30 p.m.

Followed by a 7-day Community Leadership Program (CLP) held in Jerusalem, June 24 – July 1, 2020.

Topics: (1) Paradigm Shifts of Jewish Peoplehood & Israel (2) Nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism (3) Relations: Israeli Jews & Americans

Cost: Air travel/hotel cost, 6 nights in Israel, The Associated will provide a stipend of $1,700 for CLP registration. 


iEngage PODS – “Israel: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”

Orientation session and then four live 90-minute sessions.

Wednesday Lunch Series – December 4, January 8, February 5, March 4 | 12:00 p.m.
Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg, Chizuk Amuno Congregation | Location Chizuk Amuno

Wednesday Lunch Series – Spring 2020 Session Dates TBD | 12:00 p.m.
Rabbi Chai Posner, Beth Tfiloh Congregation | Location TBD 

Thursday Evening Series – Spring 2020 Session Dates TBD | 6:30 p.m.
Rabbi Daniel Burg, Beth Am Congregation | Location TBD

Wednesday Evening Series – Spring 2020 Session Dates TBD | 6:30 p.m.
Rabbi Debbie Pine | Location JCC Park Heights Campus

Topics: Israel’s Milestone & Their Meanings, Jewish Values & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Tribes of Israel: A Shared Homeland for a Divided People, Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship


Inside the Middle East PODS – “GPS Guide to the Middle East”

Sessions led by Avi Melamed, Former Israeli Intelligence Officer & Middle East Analyst.

JHU Hillel PODS – February 18 | 6:00 p.m.

Goucher Hillel PODS – February 20 | 5:30 p.m.

Leadership PODS – March 3 | 7:00 p.m.
Address given upon registration

Leadership PODS – March 6 | 12:00 p.m.
Address given upon registration

Cardozo Society Lawyers Leadership PODS – March 11 | 11:30 a.m.
201 N Charles St, Suite 500, Baltimore

BJC Leadership PODS – March 12 | 12:00 p.m.
5700 Park Heights Ave, JCC Community Room

Leadership PODS – March 12 | 7:00 p.m.
Address given upon registration

UMBC Hillel PODS – March 13 | 12:00 p.m.

BJC Leadership PODS – March 17 | 12:00 p.m.
5750 Park Heights Ave, JCS Room 124

Topics: Inside the Middle East Methodology & Reality Check, Building the Database & Lexicon, Struggle Over Path, Identity & Direction in the Middle East, The West & Islam, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Israeli Society, The Iranian-Arab Power Struggle and Intelligent GPS for Middle East


Resetting the Table (RTT) PODS – “Let’s Really Talk about Israel”

Sessions led by Eyal Rabinovitch, Melissa Weintraub, RTT Co-Founders & RTT staff

Orientation sessions and then six live sessions including lectures, town hall dialogues and small-sized groups.

Wednesdays – (note: opening session is on Tuesday) November 19, December 11, January 15, January 29, February 12, February 26 | 6:00 p.m.

Topics: Speaking Across Differences: Israel, Israel-Palestinian Relations, Roles & Responsibilities of American Jews, Boundaries of Legitimate & Illegitimate Public Criticism of Israel, What’s Next for Israel & American Jewry


Unpacked PODS – “Visualize Israel & Our Future”

Sessions led by Noam Weissman, Jerusalem U, Senior Vice President.

Using Jerusalem U’s UNPACKED series of feature-length films, YouTube videos, experiential and interactive learning initiatives, participants view/read e-resources followed by facilitated discussions.

Orientation session and then four live sessions: December 16, January 21,
February 18, March 12

6:30 p.m., JCC Park Heights Campus 

Topics: Is might always right? – Assessing the multiple narrative of Israel’s military decisions, Exploring Multiple Forms of Zionism, Statehood for All: Israel as a Jewish democracy, Settlements & Palestinian Experience


B’more Together PODS – “Israel: What’s Happening & What’s Not”

Participants attend Israel-related programming sponsored by The Associated as well as other community organizations and then engage in both in-person as well virtual discussion groups using Cureo, an online learning system coordinated by Jeffrey Blavatt, Executive Director, IIF.

Programs include shared experiences of lectures, panels, open forums, town hall meetings and authors/artists/musicians events.

Orientation session and then five sessions: December 17, January 22, February 19, March 18, April 22

Topics: Israel as a Jewish & Democratic State, Challenges & Opportunities of Minority Rights, Religious Pluralism, Evolving Relationship of World Jewry with Israel, Forms of Zionism & Connection to Israel, Israel & Its Neighbors.


Do It Yourself (DIY) PODS

Orientation session (November 19) for self-guided access to information & sources about Israel using Cureo, an on-line learning system. Participants self-select The Associated panel, lectures and community events to attend.

Topics: Israel as a Jewish & Democratic State, Challenges & Opportunities of Minority Rights, Religious Pluralism, Evolving Relationship of World Jewry with Israel, Forms of Zionism & Connection to Israel, Israel & Its Neighbors

Questions? Contact Jeffrey Blavatt at or 410-369-9208.

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