JeLiThIn's OWNN the Text 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 at JeLiThin's next round of text study groups:

JeLiThIn’s OWNN the Text Groups

Building community through text study and personal reflection

JeLiThIn’s OWNN the Text Groups give people who are interested in Judaism and care deeply about Palestine* 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.

JeLiThIn’s OWNN the Text Groups are a non-Zionist/anti-Zionist spaces 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 OWNN the Text 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 seven weeks. We will reflect on the women of parashat Pinchas in the Book of Numbers from radical and feminist perspectives. We will draw on feminist traditions within Judaism to challenge the patriarchy embedded in tradition.

Each session will be 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 will 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 morning/afternoon Group:

All sessions are at 9:00 am Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

  • Session 1: Tuesday July 9 - Orientation and Introductions
  • Session 2: Tuesday July 16 - Source sheet: Cozbi
  • Session 3: Tuesday July 23 - Sharing our writings
  • Session 4: Tuesday July 30 - Source sheet: Five Sisters
  • Session 5: Tuesday August 6 - Sharing our writings
  • Session 6: Tuesday August 13 - Source sheet: Other Named Women
  • Session 7: Tuesday August 20 - Sharing our writings

Tuesday evening Group:

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

  • Session 1: Tuesday July 9 - Orientation and Introductions
  • Session 2: Tuesday July 16 - Source sheet: Cozbi
  • Session 3: Tuesday July 23 - Sharing our writings
  • Session 4: Tuesday July 30 - Source sheet: Five Sisters
  • Session 5: Tuesday August 6 - Sharing our writings
  • Session 6: Tuesday August 13 - Source sheet: Other Named Women
  • Session 7: Tuesday August 20 - Sharing our writings

Apply Here

The OWNN the Text method:
Old text: We read and reflect on biblical verses.
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 OWNN the Text Groups 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 to make it as accessible as possible:

397 USD – 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 USDFull Fee (employed): When you pay the full fee for this program, you know you are helping JeLiThIn cover costs.

197 USD 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 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.

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 OWNN the Text Groups :

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

Apply Here

Send us an email to info[at]jelithin.ca if you have any questions (with “JeLiThIn’s OWNN the Text Groups” in the subject line)

Requirements and expectations:

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 being present at each meeting. Sporadic attendance is not an option. You must commit to attending at least 6 of the 7 sessions. After three absences you will be withdrawn from the program (please note that there are no refunds).

Homework: Every two weeks I will send a source sheet with a few biblical verses 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 or writing about the source sheet.

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 OWNN the Text 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.

Apply Here

Send us an email to info[at]jelithin.ca if you have any questions (with “JeLiThIn’s OWNN the Text 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.