Online Programs

JeLiThIn's Online Community Groups

What is the reason for coming together?

Logo for Jewish Liberation Theology Institute. Two hands around a flame.

At our core, we humans are tribal. We like to belong to groups of individuals with similar views, thoughts, and interests. There is comfort being among others who are like-minded.

We want to feel a sense of belonging.

As Jews whose ethical heritage does not permit us to be silent in the face of Israel’s violent oppression of the Palestinian people, we are often turned off by the tacit acceptance of this oppression, granted through the deafening silence of the Jewish establishment.

Our politics come from a deeply spiritual place. But it is our politics, inextricably linked to our deepest values, that exclude us from Jewish institutions, often forcing us to choose between integrity and Jewish community.

This leaves us feeling frustrated and disappointed. We yearn for a sense of belonging, a community we can call home. We long to be able to just talk with like-minded people. We feel isolated. We ask ourselves: How can we find a Jewish community without checking our politics and our values at the door?

I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. There are many people who feel the same way as you do. Moreover, technology is now able to bring us together. Technology has made it possible to connect with people who “get it” when it feels like no one in our immediate life has a clue. It is possible to feel heard and seen through technology!

This is why we are continuing our online text study groups to connect people who identify as Jewish and who feel isolated because of their views about Palestine.

We are super excited to continue to build a community that is welcoming of who we are, where we all feel a sense of belonging, a community we can call home, without checking our politics and our values at the door.

Please join me and others who struggle with the same issues in 2023 at JeLiThin's eighth round of text study groups:

JeLiThIn's Online Community Groups

Building community through text study and personal reflection

JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups give people who identify as non-Zionist/anti-Zionist Jewish women, trans, queer, and/or non-binary* the opportunity to connect and build community through text study and personal reflection and sharing, without checking our radical politics and values at the door.

*We have now opened one group for anyone who is interested in Judaism and cares about Palestine.

JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups are a non-Zionist/anti-Zionist space for nonjudgmental community and connection with like-minded people. We aim to be anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-ageist, anti-ableist, and feminist in our relationships with each other, welcoming feedback and collaboration as we create our non-Zionist/anti-Zionist radical community together.

JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups do not presuppose any theology nor any particular knowledge about anything other than one's own life. They use a group format to explore Jewish text, providing time for participants to reflect and share sources of inner strength, beliefs, values, and spiritual needs with the group.

We will meet via Zoom once a week for eight weeks to reflect on themes related to a parasha from queer, radical, and women's perspectives. We will draw on feminist traditions within Judaism to challenge the patriarchy embedded in tradition.

Each session is 90 minutes to give ample time for everyone to share. with one another our own personal worldview and thus connect at a human level. 

We have bi-weekly reading assignments and bi-weekly writing assignments. Through sharing our beliefs, values, and needs with others, we are able to build a sense of community and belonging.

Tuesday afternoon/morning Group:

All sessions are at 10:30 am Pacific Time / 1:30 pm Eastern Time.

This group is for anyone who is interested in Judaism and cares about Palestine.

  1. Session 1: Tues Feb 14 - Orientation and Introductions.
  2. Session 2: Tues Feb 21 - Source sheet
  3. Session 3: Tues Feb 28 - Sharing our writings.
  4. Session 4: Tues Mar 7 - Source sheet
  5. Session 5: Tues Mar 14 - Sharing our writings 
  6. Session 6: Tues Mar 21 - Source sheet
  7. Session 7: Tues Mar 28 - Sharing our writings
  8. Session 8: Tues Dec 4 - Conclusion.

Tuesday/Wednesday Group:

All sessions are at 4:30 pm Pacific Time / 7:30 pm Eastern Time /  9:30 am Australia Time.

This group is for people who identify as non-Zionist/anti-Zionist Jewish women and/or trans and/or queer and/or non-binary.

  1. Session 1: Tues Feb 14 - Orientation and Introductions.
  2. Session 2: Tues Feb 21 - Source sheet
  3. Session 3: Tues Feb 28 - Sharing our writings.
  4. Session 4: Tues Mar 7 - Source sheet
  5. Session 5: Tues Mar 14 - Sharing our writings 
  6. Session 6: Tues Mar 21 - Source sheet
  7. Session 7: Tues Mar 28 - Sharing our writings
  8. Session 8: Tues Apr 4 - Conclusion.

Components of the program:

These are the components for this community building effort through text study and personal reflection:

The OWNN the text method:
Old text: We read and reflect on biblical verses from the Haftarah.
Write your own text: We make the text our own through writing our own personal adaptations of the biblical verses.
New meaning: Through making the text our own, we imbue old texts with new meaning as we express and explore our own personal spirituality.
New connection: Through sharing our own personal adaptations of the biblical verses, we get to know each other and connect deeply with one another and with our tradition.

In addition to the OWNN the text method, three other important components make this online program unique:

  1. Small group settings: Through a small group setting, we are able to  get to know one another, we will gain group affirmation and validation and forge a sense of belonging.
  2. Sharing and listening: Through personal sharing and attentive listening, we become aware of how others share our same challenges and values. At the same time, we feel accepted for who we really are despite our differences. Through these deepened bonds, a sense of community and belonging emerges.
  3. Online Community: We will use a community platform in order to share, discuss, and connect outside of the weekly Zoom meetings.

Cost:

We run this program on a sliding scale:

397 USD / 499 CAD / 549 AUD – Higher/Supporter Fee (employed/high earning power): When you pay the higher/supporter fee, you know that you are helping others access the program. This is an opportunity to not only be part of the program but also support your fellow community members.

249 USD / 314 CAD / 344 AUD – Full Fee (employed/high earning power): When you pay the full fee for this program, you know you are helping JeLiThIn cover costs.

197 USD / 249 CAD / 272 AUD – Low Fee (employed/struggling): When you pay the low fee for this program, you know you are letting your community hold you and support you. 

149 USD / 187 CAD / 205 AUD – Lower Fee (student/unemployed):  When you pay the lower fee for this program, you know you are letting your community hold you and support you.

All of these are wonderful and acceptable ways of participating in the program.

If affording any of the sliding scale amounts in full is impossible for you right now, email us to talk about a payment plan that works for you at info[at]jelithin.ca.

About the facilitator:

Rabbi Lucia Pizarro was born in Mexico City, where she became qualified to practice law. She:

Photo: Rabbi Pizarro with book in background.
  • is the first Mexican woman ordained as a rabbi in the Conservative movement
  • completed an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Essex in the UK
  • has been involved in Palestinian solidarity since 2002
  • led liberation Seders in Ontario from 2009 to 2019
  • kick-started IJV’s Online Chavurah in 2020
  • is the Founding Spiritual Director at the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute
  • is a member of Independent Jewish Voices’ Spiritual and Cultural Network
  • is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council

Join JeLiThIn’s Online Community Group :

Because the groups need to remain small enough that people can actually get to know each other, there are limited spots available.

Send us an email to info[at]jelithin.ca if you want to join the waiting list for the 2023 cohort or if you have any questions (with “JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups” in the subject line)

Requirements:

Building a sense of community and belonging requires active effort and practice. And you need to do the work. The more you put into this community-building effort, the more you will get out of it. Which is why you will be required to commit to doing the following:

Commitment: Regular attendance is essential. Group members need to commit to coming to each meeting if at all possible. Sporadic attendance is not an option for the group to establish the trust and camaraderie necessary for authentic personal sharing. You must commit to attending at least 8 of the 10 sessions.

Homework: Every two weeks I will send you a few biblical verses of a given Haftarah, and a feminist interpretation of such verses. Your homework will be to read and reflect on the readings one week, and the next week it will be to write your own adaptation of the biblical verses. You must commit to spending at least 45 minutes per week between zoom sessions either reading, writing or reflecting on the materials provided.

Focus: Be present. During the Zoom sessions, we encourage you, if at all possible, to have your video on so that we can all see one another, and to avoid doing things unrelated to the session. Do not multi-task. You must commit to striving to be fully present during the session.

Feedback: Your ongoing feedback throughout this process is vital to make JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups work for you. We will set aside times and processes for everyone to comment on how they feel the group is doing.

What participants have said:

"I found that this group is really welcoming and safe, and that I can bring everything that I am. It feels like a safe space to just show up where I'm at. I don't have a fear of feeling not Jewish enough. I've definitely felt in other spaces that I'm just not Jewish enough to be in the space. I don't feel that way with this group. I feel like I'm definitely enough, and I feel like the group has supported me and deepened my desire to keep learning about our roots and our origins, and it's fun!" J. P.
"It's a wonderful way to explore the bible while making connections with other people. It also opened up my eyes to new ways to interact with my Judaism. I'll be thinking about the things that we talked about for a long time." - D. K
“I really loved sharing the writings. I thought that was a really fun and meaningful exercise. I learned so much from everybody else's interpretations, and these texts are now inscribed in my mind so much... It was magical.” - J. S.
"[Thanks to the program] I have more knowledge of the biblical texts, and some of the meanings behind it, and I feel empowered to have my own interpretations." K. L. 

Final note:

This community-building effort will give you the type of group affirmation and validation that is impossible to receive as an individual alone. Through our amazing methodology you will be able to connect with the text deeply and with people who “get it.” I invite you to take the next step toward building YOUR Jewish community.

Send us an email to info[at]jelithin.ca if you want to join the waiting list for the 2023 cohort or if you have any questions (with “JeLiThIn’s Online Community Groups” in the subject line)

Because the groups need to remain small enough that people can actually get to know each other, there are limited spots available.