AJC Women’s Leadership Dialogue
The American Jewish Committee’s Women’s Inter-Denominational Jewish Leadership Dialogue in Washington, DC, brings together DC-area women from Conservative, independent/havurah, and Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Reform congregations as well as women whose Jewish identification is not primarily religious. The DC Dialogue has no web page, so I've provided some information here. Meetings have been suspended indefinitely, but members from over the years continue to correspond and informally pursue inter-denominational understanding.
The first AJC Intra-Jewish Dialogue began in New York City in 1996, shortly after the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Prior to his death, it was not unusual in many Jewish circles to hear Rabin called an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people. Still, Lubavitch community leader Henna White found it shocking and worrisome to hear the relief that some expressed upon his murder. Concerned that divisions among Jews were reaching a frightening level, Henna sought to help Jews find common ground. With Mimi Alperin, then chair of AJC’s Department of Contemporary Jewish life, she co-founded the Intra-Jewish Dialogue at the New York Chapter of the AJC.
Additional Dialogues have since been founded in Queens and Riverdale, as well as in Washington, DC, Chicago, and Houston, TX.
The Washington (DC) Chapter’s Intra-Jewish Dialogue began in 1999. A small steering committee handpicked woemn from across the denominational spectrum to start out. Together, this group broadened the invitation list, and then as meetings began to be held on a regular basis, the group settled at about 18 women.
The Dialogue met regularly from 2000-2007. Participants included lay leaders and members of the clergy, teachers and writers in the Washington community, from the entire spectrum of Jewish life — Traditional Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Pluralistic and Renwal. Participants span an age range of 50 years.
To discuss issues that unite and divide the Jewish community and explore ways in which we can bring together Jews of different movements.
The ultimate goal is to take advantage of the open liens of communication among women leaders to reduce tensions in our community. It is our hope that women in the dialogue will incorporate their experiences from the dialouge into their sermons, teachings, discussions, writings and resolutions, thereby influencing the larger community.
Study materials the Dialogue prepared for “Make for Yourself a Teacher: Learning Across Denominations” are available at DC Beit Midrash (Click on Source Sheets and Teachers, then July 27, 2004 — near the top of the list).
The American Jewish Committee does have a webpage, but it is important to note that the AJC as an organization and the Dialogue members as individuals do not necessarily share views on political or religious matters.